NDC Ministers Ambush MPs

Though the 2012 presidential and parliamentary elections is 14 months away, information reaching The Chronicle newspaper indicates that top officials in the National Democratic Congress (NDC) government are making feverish preparations to contest some of the parliamentary seats that will qualify them to enter Parliament. Among these high ranking government officials are Messrs. Kwesi Ahwoi, Minister of Food and Agriculture, Dr. Oteng Adjei, Minister of Energy, Dr. Benjamin Kumbuor, Minister of the Interior, Alhaji Mohammed Mumuni, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mark Wayongo, Upper East Regional Minister and Kwadwo Nyamekye Marfo, Brong Ahafo Regional Minister. Others include Kwaku Agyeman Mensah, Ashanti Regional Minister, Hannah Bissiw, Deputy Minister of Water Resources, Works and Housing, Dzifa Ativor, Deputy Minister of Transport, Mahama Ayariga, Deputy Minister of Education, Fifi Kwetey, Deputy Minister of Finance, Samuel Okudzeto-Ablakwa, Deputy Minister of Information and Dr. Omane Boamah, Deputy Minister of Environment, Science and Technology, Nii Lante Vanderpuye, Director of Operations at the Castle, among a host of others. Whilst some of these Ministers and their deputies are trying to wrestle seats they have targeted from the New Patriotic Party (NPP), others are also trying to push some of their members of parliament (MPs) aside, and take over the seats through fair or foul means. Available information indicates that Mr. Kwesi Ahwoi has already picked nomination forms to contest the Agona East seat, where one of his parents hails from. Despite their dominant roles in the affairs of the ruling government, none of the Ahwoi brothers has ever entered Parliament, a setback Kwesi Ahwoi, apparently, wants to reverse. In the case of Dr. Benjamin Kumbuor, he has been in Parliament twice, where he represented the people of Lawra/Nandom, but was not third time lucky, as he was booted out by the current occupant of the seat, Mr. Ambrose P. Dery, of the NPP in the 2008 elections. Alhaji Mohammed Mumuni, also a former MP for Kumbugu, is also using all legal means to dislodge the current NDC occupant of the seat, Kakpagu Yakubu Imoro. The Chronicle gathered that because the seat belongs to the NDC, the Foreign Minister has not picked any nomination forms, since the party has not officially given the go ahead. Mr. Mark Wayongo, whose vetting by Parliament generated a lot of interesting revelations, is also working around the clock to contest the Navrongo Central seat, where Kofi Adda of the NPP is reigning as MP. The Upper East Regional Minister contested the seat in 2008, but lost to the incumbent, who was Energy Minister in the Kufuor regime. Mr. Kwadwo Nyamekye Marfo, who was twice a District Chief Executive in the Rawlings regime, is also lacing his boots to contest the Sunyasi East seat, which is occupied by the NPP MP, Mr. Cheremeh-Ameyaw. He contested the same seat in 2008, but was floored by the incumbent, who is a lawyer. Dr. Kwaku Agyeman Mensah, who hitherto was Board Chairman of the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital in Kumasi, but later elevated to the position of Ashanti Regional Minister, is also eyeing the Atwima Mponua seat, which shares a boundary with Bibiani in the Western Region. Like Wayongo, Dr. Agyeman Mensah also contested the seat in 2000, but was not successful. He went into self-imposed ‘exile’, and is now returning to contest the seat, currently occupied by Mr. Isaac Kwame Asiamah, the young NPP legislature. A report filed by the Ghana News Agency (GNA) indicates that the Ashanti Regional Minister, Dr. Agyemang-Mensah, picked up forms on Wednesday to contest the seat. Addressing party supporters after picking the forms, Dr. Agyemang-Mensah called on them to remain loyal to the party, and work hard to wrest the seat from the New Patriotic Party (NPP), and to retain the NDC in power. He advised NDC supporters to undertake a house-to-house campaign to win more votes for the party. The controversial Deputy Minister for Water Resources, Works and Housing, Dr. Hannah Bissiw, who had been dragged to the Commission of Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) over alleged open display of wealth, is also putting finishing touches to contest the Tano South Parliamentary seat, which is being held by Mr. Andrews Adjei-Yeboah of the NPP. Ms. Dzifa Attivor, who is a deputy to Collins Dauda at the Transport Ministry, is also lacing her boots to contest the Ho West seat, where Mr. Emmanuel Koshie Bedzrah holds sway. Should she finally file to contest the seat, it would be an interesting battle, since Ms. Elizabeth Ohene of the NPP may also want to take a second shot at the seat. Mr. Mahama Ayariga, once a presidential spokesperson, who decided to report the trivial issue between him and Mr. Koku Anyidoho to officials of the American Embassy in Accra, is also working underground to reclaim the Bawku Central seat from Adamu Sakande of the NPP. The Bawku Central constituents have a penchant for changing MPs at every election, but it is not known whether Mr. Adamu Sakande will be the next victim. The Iron Lady, the late Hawa Yakubu won the seat as an independent candidate in 1992, but was dislodged in 1996 by Fati Seidu Paul, who eventually became the Deputy Upper East Regional Minister. Madam Hawa Yakubu came back strongly in 2000 to win back the seat, this time on the ticket of the NPP. Mr. Ayariga also came in 2004 to push aside Madam Hawa Yakubu, but he also could not survive in 2008, as he was defeated by Mr. Adamu Sakande. The Chronicle also gathered that Mr. Fifi Kwetey, Deputy Minister of Finance and Economic Planning, is also doing everything possible to wrestle the Ketu South seat from the hands of Mr. Albert Koshie Zigah. Ketu South is the NDC ‘Florida’ in the Volta Region, as the party always wins the seat by more than an 80% margin.