|The Manhyia North Constituency was carved out of the then Manhyia Constituency in the run-up to the 2012 election.|
Since 1996, the Manhyia seat has always been won by the New Patriotic Party (NPP) and could best be described as one of the safest seats for the party in the region.
As such, the primaries in the Manhyia North and Manhyia South constituencies have always received public attention.
This year, is no exception.
For the third time in the history of the Manhyia North Constituency, two candidates whose names have always appeared on the ballot for the primaries would again slug it out for the nod to represent the people on the ticket of the NPP on April 25, 2020.
Unlike in the previous years where there were more than two candidates, this year’s primaries have been reduced to a two-horse race between the incumbent and the first runner-up in the last primaries.
Since 2012, Mr Akwasi Konadu and Mr Collins Owusu Amankwah have been two consistent figures on the ballot for the NPP in the constituency and in the two previous occasions, Mr Owusu Amankwah, the incumbent Member of Parliament, came tops and won the primaries.
In the first instance, there were five candidates and Mr Konadu came third with the incumbent, who is also known as Sir Randy, emerging victorious.
The 2016 primaries could be considered as the most acrimonious ever experienced by the party in the constituency so far.
Aside from the mudslinging, it had to travel in and out of the court room and interventions from both the regional and national executives.
Prior to the elections, there were suspicions and alleged machinations by the constituency and regional executives to oust the incumbent from the race.
The primaries had to be postponed as many as seven times over disagreement among the aspirants and the executives over the delegates’ album of the constituency.
The contestants had different albums and there was the need to agree on one to be used for the elections.
The disagreement led to an altercation between the incumbent MP and the Regional Chairman, Mr Bernard Antwi Boasiako, better known as Chairman Wontumi.
That altercation seemed to have worsened the already volatile situation in the constituency. However, cool heads prevailed and the primaries were eventually held with the incumbent winning with a slim margin.
While Mr Owusu Amankwah had 185 votes, Mr Konadu polled 176 votes with a third candidate, Mr Osei Banfo, polling 120 votes.
Third time lucky?
Having served the constituency for two consecutive terms, Mr Amankwah believes that he had paid his dues and it is time for the delegates to reward his hard work with a third term.
Aside ensuring that some of the needs of the constituents were met through the provision of scholarships, educational infrastructure and bursaries and tools for skills training, he has also served them well in Parliament.
He said his current position as the Chairman of the Government Assurance Committee was an ample indication of his hard work in the House.
Besides that, his works as a party member has shown his dedication to the party and “come April 25, our work will speak for us. I am not perturbed and not interested in any propaganda”.
“I have served as one-time polling station chairman, ward secretary before the system was changed to electoral area,” he said and added that his vision was to see a prosperous constituency and that was what he was working on “and I strongly believe that my people will renew my mandate”.
For his part, Mr Akwasi Konadu, though yet to hold any ‘big’ political position, believes his works in the constituency should be enough for the people to know about his commitment to the party not only at the constituency level but also at the national level.
He said even though he lost the primaries on two consecutive occasions, he did not allow that to dampen his spirit and withdraw himself from political activities.
He rolled up his sleeves and descended into the trenches with other party faithful to campaign for the party and served as a polling station chairman and election observer in both 2012 and 2016 elections.
The trained accountant believes that the two times he contested and lost had prepared him adequately and had also exposed him to delegates.
He disagrees that his loss in the previous primaries might be due to his unpopularity among the delegates.
Mr Konadu said he was not a stranger in the constituency and was well known and related better with the delegates and the party executives.
He said his vision was to restore self-respect and bring back hope to the constituents.
“I want to represent my constituents with courage, truth, impartiality and conviction and to help in securing for them the means to improve their livelihoods so as to eliminate the need for cyclical handouts”, he said.
|Source: Daily Graphic|