Story Zakaria Abdul Hakim Cisse || Sanatu Zambang
Disclaimer: The below views summarize a series of interactions with people in the Tamale Central Constituency and does not in any way reflect the writer’s personal views.
It is sixty (60) days to Ghana’s general elections, yet indications from the NPP and NDC camps in the Tamale central constituency seem to favor the NDC.
Even though the ruling New Patriotic Party in 2016 had a historic win in the December general election, the party as usual lost the Tamale Central parliamentary seat to the NDC. This was not anything new since Tamale is one of the strongholds of the opposition National Democratic Congress.
Despite this fact, 2016 was a different trend with the emergence of Dr. Barhama Anyass as the NPP’s parliamentary candidate for the Tamale Central Constituency. Many people aside from political differences, applauded the personality of Dr. Anyass. His emergence in the quest for the position brought more competition in that electioneering year.
As a new face in the race for the MP of Tamale Central, facing an incumbent whose party was ruling then, Dr. Barhama garnered all the forces he could get to help him win the election. While most of the party members knew the seat wasn’t for them, they still did their campaign well but to no avail, he conceded to Hon. Inusah Fuseini of the NDC with a wide margin. Even as a sitting MP, Hon. Fuseini did not find it easy with Dr. Anyass as his opponent in the race.
Unlike in 2016, 2020 seems to be a different year. Our inquiries have some anomalies in the NABCO CEO’s campaign. While personally, Dr. Anyass is a very good man whose election as MP for the constituency will bring numerous developmental projects, his campaign strategy, including his team, is somewhat poor.
My engagement will polling station agents, party members of both the NPP and NDC in the Tamale Central constituency, suggests that the NPP’s parliamentary candidate should button-up his shirt as time has almost run out. Even though the NDC too had a change in their candidate, they seem to still have more probability of winning the seat compared to the NPP.
It is true that Hon. Mutala messed up a hard time in the Nantong Constituency, but people may still vouch for him because of the party. There are still some people who are mad about the candidature of Hon. Mutala, but the majority are compelled by the flag to vote for him.
On the NPP’s side, Dr. Anyass would have still been the right person to represent them, but it is very clear that even in power, he is not able to utilize that opportunity. The NABCO initiative is a very laudable one that the people of Tamale should be proud of as it was being proposed by this very Dr. Anyass. But politically, it is not enough to just capitalize on NABCO as your campaign message.
A strange thing is that the pressure we saw in 2016 from the NPP’s camp is not seen this time. Even before the recent voter’s registration, the Dr. Anyass team had little or no idea about the state of their members at the respective polling stations. But most importantly, they could not even prevent the huge number of votes that were transferred to Karaga, Mion, etc.
Even with 2016’s pressure, the party was more interested in winning the presidency than the parliamentary. It was clearly seen during the coalition exercise at the Northern Regional House of Chiefs. The NPP crew including the Regional Youth Organizer (Alhaji Rashi C.O.P) was their mounting pressure on officials for the right thing to be done. Even when there was a deliberate power cut, they had to approach the electric technician of the House of Chiefs and it was fixed. But as soon as it was disclosed to them about Akufo Addo winning, they all jubilated and left the premises, forgetting of the parliamentary seat.
The issue with the campaign team of Dr. Anyass is that they are not proactive. Even Terror who is supposed to be closest to the parliamentary candidate is messing up high time. Party members have complained about his lack of professionalism and his attitude towards people who come near the candidate. While the 2016 hype is still keeping Dr. Anyass, some people are becoming fed up with him.
On the side of the NDC, many people complain about having Hon. Mutala as their MP. Even though he tries to avail himself in all gatherings and trying to ‘catch’ the youth, some believe Tamale Central will not see any development with him.
December 7 is just at the corner and whatever the outcome will be will depend on the voters and the efforts of the respective candidates. The earlier they wake up the better. Tamale is not what it was eight years ago. Votes are now being cast by competence and not by party. So, parliamentary candidates should change their mode of the campaign.