THE FORMER Minister of Youth and Sports in the President Mills-led government wept uncontrollably on Saturday when officials of the Electoral Commission (EC) declared him winner of the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) parliamentary primaries in the Asawase constituency.
Hon Mohammed Muntaka Mubarak emerged victorious in the primaries which gained utmost attention in the ruling party’s nationwide exercise to elect parliamentary candidates for the 2012 polls.
Fiercely contested by one Anis Mohayadeen Moctar, a 31-year-old Kumasi-based legal practitioner, the former youth and sports minister managed to poll 254 votes out of the 466 votes to beat his contender who garnered 189 votes.
Normally, victors of contests are happy but Hon Muntaka exhibited bitterness when the outcome of the polls was made known.
Without mincing words, the former youth and sports minister, when given the opportunity to speak, tasked his opponents to go on air and repair the huge damage they had caused to his personality during the electioneering campaign. “I am directing you to go to the same radio stations you went to malign and dent my image and correct the damage you have caused because the delegates have spoken,” the Asawase legislator noted amid sobs.
On the eve of the polls, the 37-year-old planner by profession came under a barrage of attacks from his opponents, who propagated that his re-election as the party’s parliamentary candidate would spell doom for the party.
According to them, the electorates had lost faith in Hon Muntaka due to his infamous saga at the Youth and Sports Ministry, where he was alleged to have misappropriated public funds and also flown his girl friend to Cote d’Ivoire and Germany.
The opponents contended that should the former youth and sports minister be given the nod the third time, the New Patriotic Party (NPP) would be armed with an effective weapon against the ruling party, which could cause the party to lose the single seat in the Kumasi metropolis.
After the blistering attack on his opponents, Hon Muntaka then thanked God for the victory and promised the delegates he would continue his good work to ensure that the delegates did not regret for their action.
Though the exercise was originally scheduled to commence at 8:00 am, it was delayed due to arrangement difficulties.
The event was graced by Baba Jamal, Deputy Minister of Information and the Kumasi Metropolitan Assembly (KMA) boss. When dignitaries finished with their speeches, officials of the EC took over, paving way for the voting to begin at about 11:15 am.
To ensure free and fair elections, the EC officials made it categorically clear that voting by proxy was not going to be entertained.
Before voting began, the three candidates who had filed their nominations to contest the polls were given three minutes each to sell themselves and their ideas to the delegates.
When Mohammed Mustapha Ahmed, who was the number one on the ballot paper, was called to speak first, he dropped a bombshell that he was no longer interested in contesting and threw his weight behind Anis.
The United States (US) based prominent business man did not do this without launching an attack on Hon Muntaka.He claimed that for the past seven years that Hon Muntaka had been in charge as the MP for the area, he had failed to account for funds given to MPs for development projects in four different accounts namely HIPC, Common Fund, NHIS and GETFUND.
Ahmed argued that had the MP utilized the funds judiciously to the benefit of the people, the Asawase constituency would have seen a major facelift.
He therefore charged the delegates to reject Hon Muntaka and rather vote for Anis, who he claimed had integrity.Anis however refrained from being ballistic and rather called on the delegates to buy his ambition of change, stressing that it was only a positive change which could better the fortunes of the electorates in the constituency.
Hon Muntaka, who spoke last, repudiated the claims of Ahmed. Hopeful of a resounding victory, the former youth and sports minister stressed that the people of Asawase were not willing to vote for a candidate who would be a back bencher in parliament.
Source: Morgan Owusu, Kumasi/D-Guide
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