Constituency Focus – Bantama
The Bantama Constituency, known as ‘Ghana’s Florida’, is one of the oldest constituencies under the country’s electoral democratic dispensation. Until 2004, it was the biggest and most populated constituency in the Ashanti Region.
The Bantama constituency used to encompass both the Kwadaso and Nhyiaeso constituencies, until in 2004, when both constituencies were carved out of Bantama, following the creation of new ones by the Electoral Commission.
In the 1992 elections, which the opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP) boycotted, the constituency was represented by Baffour Awua Prince on the ticket of the National Convention Party (NCP).
In 1996, however, when the NPP agreed to participate in the parliamentary elections, Dr. Richard Winfred Anane contested on the ticket of the party, and won 82,076, representing 64.30% of total votes cast.
Dr. Anane, once again, contested in 2000, and polled a whopping figure of 88,649, representing 82.00% of votes cast.
The constituency became more popular in the 2000 elections, and gained the accolade ‘Florida’ because of the huge electoral figures, and was likened to the electoral battle between George W. Bush and Al Gore.
Cecilia Abena Dapaah took over from Richard Anane following the creation of the two additional constituencies, and won two successive elections in 2004 and 2008 on the ticket of the NPP.
In the 2012 elections, Abena Dapaah took a bow and handed the baton over to the current Member of Parliament, Henry Kwabena Kokofu, who was then the Constituency Chairman of the party.
MP HENRY KWABENA KOKOFU
One of the constituencies in the Ashanti Region, which has witnessed smooth political transitions in terms of parliamentary elections from one Member of Parliament to another, is the Bantama constituency. It is believed that the current MP had a tacit succession agreement with his predecessor way back in 2008.
Kwabena Kokofu is a Barrister-at-Law (Bsc, LLB, Msc, BL, and MGIF) and has a wide range of expertise in various disciplines, including Oil & Gas, Environmental Impact and Local Content Levels.
He holds a degree in Natural Resources Management, and Master of Science in Agro-Forestry from the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST). He further obtained his LLB from the same institution, before proceeding to the Ghana School of Law, where he graduated in LLM Oil & Gas Law, and was recently called to the Bar.
Mr. Kokofu has also embarked on a number of educational and undertook various programmes at the University of Edinburg, Scotland, University of Copenhagen, Denmark, and University of Padua, Italy.
The MP also undertakes consultancy services in Natural Resources Management-Forestry, Mining and Land Reclamation, and is also a Legal and Policy Analyst. He has undertaken research works in Oil & Gas, and Environmental Impact of Oil & Gas.
He is a member of the Select Committee on Law & Forestry, and also serves on the Standing Orders Committee in Parliament.
Henry Kokofu had his basic education at the St. Cyprian’s Anglican Boys School Kumasi, before proceeding to the Kumasi High School, where he did his ‘O’ Level and ‘A’-Level courses.
He is married with kids.
Mr. Kokofu says his vision is premised on three main factors:
1. To help explore the power of positive thinking, and magic of thinking to advance social re-engineering, enhance living standards, and promote peaceful co-existence.
2. Win friends and influence people to do what is right for the benefit of society and humankind and
3. To constantly get in touch with the people and vigorously advocate for grassroots participation in decision-making processes, justice delivery, and social protection.
The MP says his mission is to work hard enough in order to clinch victory for NPP, and ensure that achievable goals are delivered, promises fulfilled, pledges redeemed, and assurances come to pass at all levels.
He says placing the welfare of the people at the centre of strategic planning and execution of developmental agenda, and the development of the people’s potentials in anticipation for leadership plans are an integral part of his mission.
Apart from his tremendous contributions at the party level, which saw steady increases in the party’s electoral fortunes in the Bantama constituency, Mr. Kokofu has also made giant strides since elected into office as an MP in the 2012 general elections.
Henry Kokofu claims he has been able to unite the people of Bantama as one family devoid of partisanship, and this, he said, was evidenced in the smooth political stability within the constituency.
In the health sector, the MP has also adopted the Ward D5 and Fevers Unit at the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital (KATH), which he has refurbished. He has additionally supplied various items to the ward, including television sets and medical logistics required for smooth health delivery.
In the area of education, the MP has also provided scholarships to brilliant but needy students in the constituency, supplied computers to basic schools within the constituency, and made several donations to the Kumasi Girls High School towards the improvement of education in the constituency.
Mr. Kokofu says his main objective is to launch an Education and Health Foundation, known as EDU-MED, to support the youth and people within his constituency.
He is also seeking to embark on an afforestation programme in the constituency, and also help in the reconstruction of the Bantama market.
Amongst other aims of the MP are the adoption and refurbishment of the Maternity Ward at the Suntreso Government Hospital, water project at the Nursing & Midwifery Training School at KATH, establishment of a vocational centre at Amanfrom Prison Settlement, and the Empowerment of Women in the constituency, through socio-economic support.
THE SOCIO-ECONOMIC MAKE-UP OF THE CONSTITUENCY
The residents of Bantama are mainly traders and businessmen who engage in buying and selling of various goods and services. It houses one of the satellite markets, which has in recent times, become very popular, following the ejection of traders from the Race Course Market.
Being close to the Central Business District of Kejetia, its residents trek to and fro on a daily basis to do business and offer services as means of livelihood. The constituency is home to retail and wholesale shops, market stalls, small scale businesses, footwear manufacturing firm, fashion design outlets, local restaurants, pubs and amusement programmes.
The constituency houses the popular Centre for National Culture and the Zoological Garden, and is also the Regional Headquarters of the Metro Mass Transit Terminal, popularly known as ‘Kufuor Bus’.
Though not politically part of the constituency, Bantama sits closest to the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital, and is the biggest beneficiary of services rendered by the health facility.
Night life at Bantama is one of the most fascinating in the city, with the popular Bantama High Street, where residents stay awake all night, partying and engaging in various forms of social activities.
It has educational institutions such as the Kumasi Girls SHS, Asanteman SHS, SDA Senior High School and the Islamic Senior High School.
The Bantama Constituency has lots of prospective business opportunities, which have immense benefits to the constituents when exploited. Some include the Centre for National Culture, which is yet to be exploited to its fullest.
The Centre has various tourists’ attractions, and has the potential of raking in lots of revenue and profits for residents. The Zoological Garden, which used to be a popular visiting site for students and educational institutions, ought to be revived to serve its major purpose.
The Bantama Constituency is confronted with major challenges, which, according to the MP, are impeding the socio-economic development of the people.
He mentioned lack of proper maintenance of street roads and abandonment of major ongoing projects.
Henry Kokofu further stated that poor sanitation and waste disposal was another bane of residents in the constituency, and made particular mention of the Mpatasie Community, as the most affected.
The incidents of school dropouts, falling academic standards and poor state of the Bantama market, which is gradually spilling onto the street, are also some of the challenges which require urgent attention from the city authorities, he noted.
Hon. Kokofu presents to KATH
The medical charts office at Suntreso Government Hospital’s HIV ward is short on space, but the charts stay well organized
Kumasi Zoological Garden
Kumasi Girls High School
Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital
The completed dining hall complex of the Kumasi Girls High School
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