Central Region, the ‘kingmaker’

Kweku-Ricketts-Hagan,NDC (1)The Central Region has once again demonstrated that its political alignment is not on “autopilot”, but swings to whichever party’s policies it falls in love with during any election period.

Both the National Democratic Congress (NDC) and the New Patriotic Party (NPP) have tasted victory and defeat depending on the voting pattern in the region.

The 2016 swing

Kennedy Agyapong,NPP

Kennedy Agyapong,NPP

From the results of last Wednesday’s elections, it is obvious that the region has fallen head over heels in love with the NPP, ending its eight years romance with the NDC,  despite several projects, including the Komenda Sugar Factory, Kotokuraba  Market , Cape Coast Sports Stadium and the fish processing plant the ruling party had provided.

Mavis Hawa Koomson NPP

Mavis Hawa Koomson NPP

Aside from giving Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo of the NPP 496,668 votes, as against 405,262 polled by incumbent President John Dramani Mahama, the region topped it up with 19 of its 23 parliamentary seats.

Prior to the election, the NDC  with  16  parliamentary seats, had projected to win four more but in a shocking twist of events,  it lost  12 of what it hold,  including  two of its die ‘stronghold’ seats, to the NPP which had only seven seats.

MRS QUEENSTAR POKUA SAWYERR,NDC

MRS QUEENSTAR POKUA SAWYERR,NDC

Seats retained / snatched by NDC

As it stands now, the NDC has only four seats in the region. The Regional Minister, George Kweku Ricketts-Hagan and his deputy, Queenstar Pokuaa Sawyerr, retained their seats – the Cape Coast South and Agona East constituencies respectively. They did not have it easy, as their NPP contenders gave them a hot chase.

NANA ATO ARTHUR, NPP

NANA ATO ARTHUR, NPP

In a similar keen contest, Deputy Finance Minister Cassiel Ato Baah Forson also retained the Ajumako–Enyan-Essiam seat, while new comer, Samuel Atta Mills, brother of the late President John Atta Mills, snatched the Komenda-Edina-Eguafo-Abrem seat from the NPP.

Two ‘Stronghold’ seats NDC lost

The two NDC ‘stronghold’, seats snatched by the NPP, for the first time were the Twifo Atti-Morkwa, and the Ekumfi seats. Francis Kingsley Ato Cudjoe of the NPP unseated the incumbent, Abeiku Crentsil of the NDC at Ekumfi while at Twifo Atti Morkwa, NPP’s Abraham Odoom beat NDC’s Samuel Ato Amoah.

 

Afenyo-Markin NPP

Afenyo-Markin NPP

Seats retained by NPP
On the other hand, the NPP kept a firm grip on its seats, with the sitting MPs including Alex Afenyo-Markin of Effutu, Kennedy Ohene Agyepong of Assin Central (for the third time); and Nana Amoako of the Upper Denkyira East constituencies retaining them.

Abeiku Crentsil NDC

Abeiku Crentsil NDC

Big shots fall
Big shots who fell in the region included Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, Hannah Serwaa Tetteh who lost the Awutu Senya West seat to first timer, George Nenyi Andah, and the former Regional Minister, Dr. Stephen Nana Ato Arthur, who lost the KEEA seat.

New Faces
Apart from NDC’s Samuel Atta-Mills of KEEA, 11 other new faces, all from the NPP, would be heading to Parliament. They include John Ntsim Fordjour of Assin South, Alexander Kodwo Abban of Gomoa West, and Bright Wireko-Brobbey of Hemang/Lower Denkyira.

Gender
The Central Region gave six women the chance to go to Parliament.  All the five NPP female candidates won their seats. They include Mrs. Barbara Asher Ayisi, Cape Coast North; Naana Eyiah, Gomoah Central; Mavis Hawa Koomson, Awutu Senya East; and Abena Durowaa Mensah, Assin North.

The only female NDC MP who made it to Parliament is Deputy Regional Minister, Queenstar Pokuaa Sawyerr, MP for Agona East. The four other female NDC candidates, including Hannah Tetteh, lost their seats, while the others failed to win.

Caution
The region’s political pendulum might have swung to the side of the NPP, this year, but like the region’s capital, Cape Coast, is referred to “a town of beautiful nonsense” – the region can change its mind and vote out the NPP government in the next election if it takes the people of the region for granted.

 

From Jonathan Donkor, Cape Coast

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