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06.09.2019 Feature Article

Analysis of Tolon Constituency Parliamentary Elections for 2020

Analysis of Tolon Constituency Parliamentary Elections for 2020

This research piece is carefully conducted to assess the chances and performance of the Tolon Constituency NPP parliamentary candidates’ for the upcoming 2020 party parliamentary primaries and general constituency elections (should each candidate win the constituency primaries) and what each candidate has to do differently in order to realize the chances at his/her disposal. The method employed is a random interview of constituents/respondents of 200 for each town (for communities such as Tolon, Nyankpala, Gburimani, Kasuliyili, Kpendua, Lingbung and Zantani) and an extensive review of the previous elections from 2012 to 2016 when the New Patriotic Party took over the helm of parliamentary leadership in the august legislative house. This research made use of search engines as the data acquisition element and as one of the facilitating systems to this research work.

Data wise, results of Tolon Constituency in 2012 in favour of the NPP has retrogressed during the 2016 elections. In conclusion, the Member of Parliament (MP) will have to work extra hard to boost the fortunes and chances of the party retaining the seat if endorsed by delegates as parliamentary candidate for the 2020 elections. I also propose that if the current MP (Wahab Suhuyini Wumbei) could not make it as the parliamentary candidate for the Tolon Constituency, a credible person whose potholes is not openly known should be voted as the lead candidate on the NPP’s ticket going into 2020 elections.

Keywords: Tolon, NPP, NDC, Parliamentary, Elections, Constituency.

Introduction:

The Tolon Constituency which is located in the Northern Region of Ghana is part of the seats considered as unpredictable seats and therefore, appears shaky for both political parties; the New Patriotic party and National Democratic Congress. This implies that it can be won by either of the two competing political parties mentioned above.

The constituency houses the Savanna Agricultural Research Institute (SARI) of the Centre for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) both in Nyankpala and one of the campuses of the University for Development Studies.

The constituency used to be a safer ground for the National Democratic Congress (NDC) since 1992 until it was snatched during the 2012 election by Wahab Suhuyini Wumbei and consecutively retained again in 2016. The political dynamics in the Tolon Constituency is very interesting as the two leading political parties could not say with certainty regarding the bright fortunes going into 2020 elections.

In this analysis, focus would be tailored on the chances of aspirants of the New Patriotic Party for the upcoming constituency primaries, candidates’ chances going into the 2020 election if given the green light to lead the party, candidates’ fallouts and an intellectual perspective on the future fortunes of the party for the 2020 elections with respect to the results garnered during the 2012 and 2016 respectively.

Examination of Candidates’ Chances

Alhaji Wahab Suhuyini Wumbei

As data indicated, the voting pattern of the Tolon Constituency since 1992 has always favoured the National Democratic Congress until the seat was snatched in 2012 and again retained in 2016 by Alhaji Wahab Suhuyini Wumbei of the New Patriotic Party. This is a candidate who is not a novice in the field and roots to be maintained to extend his tenure in office. Wahab Suhuyini Wumbei has a lot of task ahead of him to win the 2020 parliamentary election for the NPP should he be retained during the constituency primaries. For a fair analysis of the chances of Wahab Suhuyini Wumbei retaining the seat for the party, let’s consider table 1.0 below.

Table 1.0

Parliament: Tolon Constituency Results in Brief

Candidate Votes Share in Percentage (%) Margin of Victory
Wahab S. Wumbei (NPP) (2012) 18,113 48.89 2,414
Umar Abdul-Razak 15,699 42.37
Wahab S. Wumbei (2016) 21,782 50.03 1,057
Umar Abdul-Razak 20,725 47.61

The year 2016 election result speaks a lot about the future fortunes of the New Patriotic Party parliamentary candidate and the strategy, campaign logistics and specifically, an appealing candidate to put in place for assured victory in 2020 elections. The huge margin of votes lost (even though Alhaji Wahab Suhuyini Wumbei won) to the NDC in the 2016 elections in relation to the margin of victory he had in 2012 speaks a lot about the greater possibility of the party losing the seat to the main opposition NDC if a critical review is not conducted to get a near appealing face that can garner votes from both sides of the political divide. In the 2012 parliamentary election, the NPP candidate won with a huge vote’s margin of 2,414 that saw the parliamentary candidate then, Wahab S. Wumbei, now Member of Parliament into undisputable victory for the party. The victory of 2012 was heavily reduced in 2016 election to a mere 1,057 victory margin. By implication, a huge vote loss of 1,357 of voters who confirmed their confidence in the NPP’s candidate in 2012 could not see the need to reaffirm their commitment to same. That margin of votes loss of 1,357 clearly tells the candidate that the next election is highly likely to record a huge loss of thousands with same candidate if the trend of loss recorded by the candidate in 2016 is anything to go by. The political trend normally do portrays a reduction of votes of candidates who are seeking to extend their tenure as Members of Parliament for the fact that some constituents might be fed up of his/her candidature for lack of concrete developmental agenda to tackle the poor state of communities lacking basic social amenities.

Another disturbing factor that could greatly hinder the chances of Wahab S. Wumbei returning to parliament should he get the chance at the party primaries is the lineage of the newly endorsed parliamentary candidate for the NDC Yussif Adamu. The research revealed that Yussif Adamu hails from Gburimani, the same birth village that the current Member of Parliament Wahab S. Wumbei also hails from. 75% of respondents/constituents interviewed at Gburimani say should Wahab S. Wumbei emerged victorious at the party primaries, his retention will be a tougher one as votes within the catchment area of their birthed community will be split for the two candidates. The NPP candidate stands the point of difficulty to garner higher votes as usual than his rival for reasons such as unfulfilled personal problems of constituents, slow pace of development in areas such as water provision, roads, public toilets, jobs for the youth, scholarships for students and very low participation in community developmental related activities. For Wahab S. Wumbei to win the parliamentary election should he emerge victorious in the party primaries, he has to work extra hard to closing the loss votes of 1,357 he lost in 2016 as against the victory in 2012, despite the fact that he won in the 2016 parliamentary election. He has a bigger task than any other NPP parliamentary candidates in the Tolon Constituency.

One embracing factor that respondents/constituents hinted about the NDC’s candidate over the NPP is that Yussif Adamu; is a new entrant into the political scene of the Tolon Constituency, his flaws are not known and that he is supposedly running a clean sheet to recapture power from the NPP.

Alhassan Yakubu Tali (Nawanaa)

Another ambitious parliamentary candidate popularly known in traditional cycles as Nawanaa, who currently heads the Deputy Managing Director of Agricultural Development Bank (ADB), is lacing his boots to enter the contest. He made his first debut in 2008 when he contested against the current MP in the constituency primaries but lost with a slide margin. He made an attempt to renew his stand in 2012 to again represent the party as its parliamentary candidate but lost again to Wahab S. Wumbei. Our sources say his chances of winning the parliamentary candidateship on the ticket of the NPP will have been an easy walk through should he maintained his contact with the constituency after his ambitious loss.

Nawanaa has to seriously review his political strategy, change the rooted rumuors of not answering phone calls of constituents, bring back all those who were supporting him, equip them with the needed resources to actually change the narrative being held by most constituents that he has been in the gutter with most of his core campaign runners who were gathering good political leads for his political life. Until that is done, he dooms facing a miserable defeat should he contest in the upcoming constituency primaries for the 2020 elections. 79% of constituents questioned his contribution to the fortunes of the party using his current portfolio as Deputy MD of ADB. They say they have not seen any jobs offered from him, neither have they seen any social intervention policy being undertaken by him.

Reliable information gathered from his close associates say the Deputy MD of ADB is a novice in the political scene despite the fact that he has contested two consecutive times to lead the party as its parliamentary candidate. That he takes no political opinions from his camp but rather implement what he thinks is right. Mind you, every constituency has one unique way of politicking and as a serious politician wanting to register a mark in the field; you need to adhere to what the people say, what they like and where they always want you be. If the Deputy MD adhere to the political-environmental-dictates of the Tolon Constituency, he could make a surprise come back to fulfill his ambition. For him to win, he needs to follow political convention wisdom and it is not all that clear to constituents that he has any plans to pursue same. Based on the reasons mentioned above, 95% of constituents say he risk losing greatly if he triggers a comeback.

Hon. Mohammed Zakaria

A very determined aspirant whose humility is known in the rank and file of Busia-Dankwa and Dombo tradition is strongly lacing up his boots to compete among heavy weights in the constituency. He is an accountant working with the Controller and Accountant General Department with years of experience in the field.

This personality was the leading front campaigner to the political initiation of Alhassan Yakubu Tali in the 2008 and 2012 parliamentary primaries in the Tolon Constituency. His absence in the camp of the Deputy MD of ADB would affect campaign activities significantly.

The case of Mohammed Zakaria winning the Tolon NPP Primaries could be a perfect replacement and decision for delegates to make for the future prospects of the party. Every stage and time has its own solution, thus a new solution of providing a new face of representation that has the love and can garner votes from the opposition NDC. Constituents have it that he is the candidate who holds the key of love to the main opposition NDC. For virtue of his humbleness, honesty, compassionate, yet strong-willed and extraordinary leadership skills, others viewed him as a mole in the party who has strong human relations with members of the main opposition party; until they realized that his quality of leadership skills is beyond party representation.

However, feedback of constituents in the various communities describe his candidature as “Humility running against the big money holders, can humility alone win in the NPP upcoming primaries this time?”. Constituents are of the view that there is a candidate in the person of Mohammed Zakaria who has the human heart to appeal to the conscience of the majority of voters from both ends but lacks the financial wherewithal to sail through the primaries. The research revealed that 79% of constituents are of the view that Mohammed Zakaria would perform marvelously well should he sail through the primaries to represent the party for the upcoming 2020 parliamentary elections; and thus mobilize a good financial support from well-wishers and all those who have the party at heart. If the candidature of Mohammed Zakaria gets a good financial support coupled with his already widely known innate born qualities of being good to people of all social ranks, the NPP would record a sound victory footing in the upcoming 2020 elections as parliamentary candidate.

The victory of the party must be a paramount concern to all members of the party and those who have the development of the constituency at heart and not particularly on candidates who have the financial standing and ‘network’ at the top hierarchy of the party but lacks the seed of love sown in the heart of voters. For such candidates, they might win the primaries for the run of their money but would lose in the general constituency election.

Alhaji Habib Iddrisu

The Tolon Constituency is set to witness one of its fiercest contests for parliamentary election on the ticket of the New Patriotic Party as the Deputy CEO of Freezones prepares to battle it out with incumbent and other heavyweights. The Deputy CEO is remembered for being a Former Parliamentary Candidate for Sagnarigu Constituency in the 2016 elections which he lost to the A.B.A Fuseini who stood for the NDC ticket. The Deputy CEO has shifted jurisdictional camp regarding his future political path and has chosen Tolon Constituency as a place to contest for the upcoming constituency primaries. We live in a political era where one’s financial muscle power determines the outcome of an election. This belief, to a larger extent, is true; and to some extent, is otherwise, especially with regards to the political dynamics of Tolon Constituency. We all know the driving force with which money does to elections and how it amplifies political messages to reach voters/delegates. There is no denying fact that money makes a candidate competitive. Having all the resources at hand does not necessarily guarantee that a particular candidate’s message will resonate with the voters especially if the candidate has poor strategy. If voters do not like what they are hearing, telling them more of the same will not change their opinion.

The data indicates that Habib Iddrisu appears to be a candidate who has the financial notes to undo the current status quo, rebrand the constituency to fit his bit for victory and that he has a strong financial muscle to wage a strong campaign against the NDC should he be endorsed as parliamentary candidate of the NPP.

97% of constituents were quick to question his whereabouts in the constituency during the 2008, 2012 and 2016 elections and his contributions to the success of the constituency during his absence in those years. Can these questions affect his political fortunes to get him elected as the PC in the upcoming primaries? Remember money has a huge role to play during a party primary’s level and has less during general constituency elections. If the primaries is going to be heavily dependent on money and leaving other issues like questionable integrity situations, the Deputy Freezones CEO would be in the driver’s seat. The CEO needs two things to happen in Tolon Constituency to gain momentum from the constituents: He needs to constantly connect with the constituents and also present a convincing subject about him and as well open a gate for the people to ask questions about him and what they have heard of/about him. Either good or bad. With that, he could take such opportunity to address them.

Alhaji Jagbo Baako

Another sterling figure whose contributions cannot be swept under the carpet is Alhaji Jagbo Baako, a Revenue Officer with years of experience in revenue mobilisation and how best such revenues could be used for the development of our respective communities.

Being the Chairman of Dagbon Malimi Zungno (DAMAZ), a peace-loving advocacy group in Dagbon, has given him the wide social interaction with all caliber of people and this has given him the mental fortitude to appreciate all manner of people.

The research uncovered that he was an ardent facilitator to the successes of the current Member of Parliament in the previous elections and that his absence could be felt in one way or the other by the current MP in his bid to retain both his candidateship and MPship respectively.

Should he win the primaries to lead the party into the 2020 elections on the ticket of the NPP, he would perform marvelously well because of his past experience in human relation. He is known for his calmness but sure of victory. For the peace advocacy leader to win, he has to keep playing nice to keep his momentum going whiles politically and wisely disconnecting his core fan-delegates from supporting the current MP, who did so in the past because of him.

Dr. Anamzoya Sulemana Alhassan

As mentioned earlier, the Tolon seat is a very competitive one and no aspirant is taking it lightly. An academic and lecturer at University of Ghana is seriously putting out his voice loud as to why he is the best candidate to lead the party to the 2020 elections as the party’s parliamentary candidate. The young academic has also done his best to helping the constituency.

Dr. Anamzoya is one of the few candidates with fewer endorsements from the elephant political establishment in the constituency. This means he has a lot of work to do to have his name registered in the hearts of delegates and constituents.

The research revealed that 85% of constituents say not a lot of voters have heard of him, and low name recognition. But even among the elephants who know enough about him to form an opinion, Anamzoya’s ratings is something he must work on if he actually want to lead the party in the constituency.

Hajia Amama Sayibu

She is the only woman to have joined the race to become a parliamentary candidate on the ticket of the New Patriotic Party in the constituency. She served the party for 8 years as Women Organiser for the Northern Region and a failed DCE nominee for the Tolon District. She is a power broker with several years of banking experience and worked with State Insurance Company (SIC) as a Senior Accounting officer.

She has touted herself as the best candidate for the Tolon Constituency considering her past experience and activeness in the political arena of the Northern Region for close to a decade.

From the research, 58% of constituents say she could be a remarkable MP considering her lobbying skills and her past experience in the political scene. They also added that she is likely to be the first woman to ever serve as parliamentary candidate for the NPP in the constituency if elected by the delegates. 51% of constituents were more particular about her gender and her supposed closeness to the first gentleman of Ghana and how she could use the opportunity to bring development and woo investors into the Constituency.

Our research could not conclude on Amama Sayibu without constituents giving a word of advice to her as a guiding principle towards realizing her ambition to becoming the parliamentary candidate and if possible Member of Parliament. 76% of constituents urged her to be patient and tolerant of others views irrespective of the situation she might find herself in.

Findings of the Research

The research revealed that Tolon Constituency is going back to the days where the NPP was struggling to close the gap and probably win. Table 1.0 above showed this finding based on the comparism of the 2012 and 2016 election results respectively.

Though Alhaji Wahab S. Wumbei saved the party from struggling and snatching the seat from the NDC candidate, he could not add or maintain the votes he had in 2012 to that of the 2016 election. Alhaji Wahab S. Wumbei lost 1,357 of votes in 2016. This analysis is reached when you compare the margin of victory he had in 2012 to that of the margin of victory votes in 2016. So, if endorsed by the delegates, he will have to do more work to be able to win the seat for the third term.

The Tolon Constituency, the research revealed that they are suffering from basic social amenities. Key among them is portable and safe drinking water.

Whoever wins the parliamentary candidateship has to lobby very hard to get the people together and as well by engaging in social interventions projects to realign the peoples’ heart and faith towards him/her for victory 2020.

One candidate should not be allowed to contest more than two times. The maximum the person should be considered is two as the third time is highly likely to be a loss to the party. Even Alhaji Wahab S. Wumbei’s second term retrogressed the fortunes of the party when he was supposed to move the party forward, votes wise.

Money has a say in the determination of who wins the seat especially when the politician has a brilliant strategy of spreading the resources to the delegates.

Constituents and delegates need to be educated on the implications of making direct and personal financial demands from aspirants and its aftermath if he/she wins.

Aspirants need to declare their source of funding to increase transparency in election spending.

Three aspirants in the race have problems of integrity or public integrity issues.

There need to be a review of Article 94(b) of the Constitution. This Article says that a person is not qualified to be a member of parliament unless “he is resident in the constituency for which he stands as a candidate for election to Parliament or resided there for a total period of not less than five years out of the ten years immediately preceding the election for which he stands, or he hails from that constituency”.

Recommendation

Considering the competitiveness of the Tolon seat with each candidate vying for the parliamentary candidateship, a public debate needs to be put in place to afford the constituents to ask questions and to weigh the sources, lobbying skills and probably what aspirants have already put in place to develop the constituency. Elections are about competitive visions to solve the problem in your community or country. And there is no better format than a debate to lay those differences out for all to see.

Conclusion

No electoral system is perfect – there are always trade-offs involved (e.g. candidate/personal influence vs. party coherence; accountability to voters vs. accountability to the party; short-term advantage vs. long-term stability, minority representation and ensuing fragmentation of party systems vs. government coherence and durability; incentives for pork barrel vs. corruption; the provision of public goods vs. the provision of more targeted ones; etc). This means that the design of constitutional structures and electoral rules is a balancing act that has produced a wide range of both problems and solutions (Kunicova and Rose-Ackerman 2005).

Reference

Parliamentary Results Tolon Constituency (Northern Region) – Peacefmonline.com

Amp.cnn.com ­­­­­­ – CNN Politics

Kunicova, J. and S. Rose-Ackerman (2005). “Electoral Rules and Constitutional Structures as Constraints on Corruption.” British Journal of Political Science 33(10): 1567–85

By: Abdul-Razak Lukman

(Independent Researcher & Freelancer)

Mobile: +233.24.244.3937

Email: [email protected]

Abdul-Razak Lukman
Abdul-Razak Lukman, © 2019

This author has authored 16 publications on Modern Ghana. Author column: Abdul-RazakLukman

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