Friday, 3 May 2013

The Kumbungu By-Election

The victory of the CPP in the Kumbungu Constituency by-election is significant in the sense that this is the first time the party has won a by-election in the country since the return to democracy in 1992. The achievement gives the party which hitherto had no representation in the legislature, a voice in the law-making body. The NDC which relinquished the seat paving the way for the by-election will this time be counting its loss since it has dominated the constituency all along. The NDC must learn vital lessons from its defeat in the poll given reports that its preparation towards the election was generally lack luster. The top Executive were engrossed in the ongoing Supreme Court hearing of the 2012 election petition. In the by-election, the CPP Candidate, 61 year old development worker, Amadu Moses Yahaya polled 13,039 as against 11,896 obtained by the NDC candidate, Alhaji Imoru Yakubu Kakpagu, a former MP for the area. The seat became vacant after it had been abdicated by the Member of Parliament Alhaji Mohammed Mumuni following his appointment as Secretary General of the African Carribean and Pacific States.

The NDC since its victory in the December 2012 general election has been encumbered with a lot of difficulties critical among which is the challenge of the election results before the Supreme Court. Also affecting the party in government are the water and electricity crisis, strikes by Doctors, Pharmacists and UTAG members, irregular gas supply among others. Also bedeviling the government is the payment of huge sums as ex-gratia to Article 71 office holders. What is more, in many constituencies the NDC's front is divided. Many of the party foot soldiers who helped to clinch victory are disenchanted. They feel sidelined from party’s activities. In Kumbungu for instance, we are told, the NDC pretended there were no problems within its ranks in the constituency when in actual fact there were gaping cracks. According to media reports since the primaries that elected the former Foreign Minister the party had been divided between the two leading candidates in the primaries. The division it is said further deepened when Dr. Jacob Mahama contested Alhaji Kakpagu and lost in the primaries leading to the by-election. As a result of the existing misunderstanding, some chiefs and opinion leaders in the Constituency fell out of favour with Alhaji Kakpagu. In an interview with Radio Ghana, the National Organiser of the NDC, Yaw Boateng Gyan confirmed these, citing lack of unity, in-fighting and divided attention from the leadership as the cause for the defeat of the NDC in the Kumbungu by-election.

The Kumbungu by-election therefore comes in handy for the National Executive of the party to put its acts together and try to reconcile all feuding groups within the party. Total reconciliation is what the NDC needs at this critical period of its existence. Actions that will embitter any group of party supporters must be suspended for now. As the party goes for branch, ward, constituency, Regional and perhaps National Executive elections in December this year, it is hoped hard working and committed leaders will emerge to re-organise the party's structures towards the 2016 general election. As a grassroot party, some people believe the NDC is losing touch with its antecedents. They believe some policies enacted by the party in recent times leave much to be desired. These include the proposed ban of motor cycles for commercial purposes popularly called Okada and the new motor traffic regulations vis a vis the on - the spot fine. Even though some of the people see the policies as relevant they believe the timing is not right given the myriad of challenges the government is going through.

To the CPP, most people see their sweet victory as truly deserving. It is hoped they have learnt useful lessons from confronting elections with a united front. The CPP we are told was assisted by the PNC in their campaign in Kumbungu. This indeed gives credence to the adage “United we stand, divided we fall.” The CPP and PNC as the leading Nkrumaist parties must shed their individual garbs and merge into a prolific political entity with a common interest. The NPP have regretted not contesting the Kumgunbu by election for it would have been the people's choice as an alternative to the NDC. Every seat in Parliament counts a lot as it could determine policy direction. The NPP seems to be betraying the first of the people by continuing to boycott some of the by-election. Some people doubt if they will boycott a by election if it occurred in Ashanti. As things stand now, the NDC must eschew appointing Parliamentarians to positions of trust which will take them out of the August house for a by-election to take place. To the victors, this is an opportunity to make their presence felt in Parliament. The victory should serve as a platform to bounce back the CPP back to political limelight.


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