Politics of Friday, 16 September 2016
Source: The Gazette Newspaper
The choice of Sunyani as venue for the NDC manifesto launch has energized party activists and foot soldiers in the Brong Ahafo Region who are embarking on an all-out campaign to win more votes.
Regional executives see it as very symbolic and a huge challenge to secure a comfortable lead for the party in honour of First lady, Lordina Mahama and other prominent party members from the area.
Ahead of the arrival of big guns in the governing NDC, the streets of Sunyani have been awash with party paraphernalia. Reports say many die-hard supporters are disappointed they cannot get the opportunity to see the President and leading members of the party because there will not be any rally to herald the event.
The NDC has consistently been gaining grounds in the Brong Ahafo Region, considered as a swing region by Political Analysts. President John Mahama is poised to sustain the good will among majority of electorates in the region and is investing heavily in infrastructure to help improve lives of the people.
The NDC lost grounds to the main opposition party, the NPP since 2000, when former President John Rawlings completed his tenure.
In the 2000 Presidential elections, the NPP led by former President John Kufuor polled 48.40 percent of votes followed by then candidate Professor Atta Mills with 44.80percent. In the run-off, the NPP increased votes to 56.90 percent and the NDC managed to win 43.10 percent of votes cast
In 2004, the NPP held on its grip polling 52.45 percent while the NDC had a marginal increase to 44.64 percent.
The NDC has since sustained efforts to gain back its dominance in the Brong Ahafo Region. In 2008, NPP’s votes dropped to 49.32 percent. The NDC polled 47.76 percent. In the runoff, the National Democratic Congress for the first time in eight years secured 50.47 of votes cast. The NPP candidate, Nana Akufo Addo had 49.53 percent. Under Nana Akufo Addo, the NPP has even performed worse. It had 47.81 percent while President John Mahama polled 50.63 percent of votes in the region.
The NDC has since been working hard to increase votes to secure a comfortable lead for President John Mahama come December 7, 2016. First Lady Lordina Mahama whose NGO activities have been strong on the ground is targeting the average population through support especially in the area of health.
Veteran politician and one of the influential personalities, Johnson Asiedu Nketiah, General Secretary of the party, well known grassroots person has also been very active on the ground. Together with Alhaji Collins Dauda, now Minister of Local Government, Emmanuel Kwadwo Agyekum, Deputy Minister of Local Government and other political strategists are leading the onslaught against the NPP.
Under the Mahama Administration, the Brong Ahafo Region has benefitted from massive projects. These include the University of Energy and Natural Resources, major highways, cocoa roads, Community Day Senior High Schools, Policlinics and CHPS compounds.
During President Mahama’s recent tour of the area, he inspected a road in Nkoranza, named after his wife Lordina Mahama and several ongoing projects, notable among them being the Sunyani ring roads, Gambia No. 2 to Kyreremasu projects among others.
He also commissioned the HCIM complex at Sunyani Polytechnic to give impetus to his vision to convert Polytechnics to Technical Universities.
Many traditional leaders including Chiefs of Derma and Abease where two new Community SHS have been inaugurated have publicly endorsed the NDC and President Mahama for his great works.
Reports say the NPP which has since 2008 won only two regions in the general elections is panicking over the development. It has subsequently tried to malign the First Lady, Lordina Mahama.
Few months ago, it tried to exploit the DKM financial scam through false claims that the owners are linked to the first family but that failed.
Three weeks ago, the NPP launched attacks on the first lady and the President for abusing incumbency and buying votes.
Ahead of the NDC campaign launch the party is instigating victims of the micro finance scam to stage a demonstration against the president and NDC.
It is planning to ensure it coincides with the NDC manifesto launch to divert attention and to provoke the party but the NDC this paper has learnt, is fully aware of the tricks and is coercing its members to stay focused in their campaign to win more votes.