The Nkawkaw Constituency in the Eastern Region will be one interesting area to watch ahead of the governing New Patriotic Party’s parliamentary primaries slated for April 25.
Two former MPs and the current MP are battling three other aspirants for the seat.
The Nkawkaw seat is a perennial seat for the NPP, even though the party lost it to an Independent candidate, Seth Agyei Baa, in 2008. On the average, NPP presidential candidates since 1996 get about 72 per cent in the constituency while its parliamentary candidates averagely get around 58 per cent in every election cycle. In 2016, the current MP for the area, Eric Kwakye Darfour skyrocketed the party’s earlier 68.9 per cent to 73.48 per cent, the highest any NPP candidate has had in the area.
Ahead of the April 25 primaries, Mr. Kwakye Darfour, MP for the area, Okerchiri Kwabena Adusa, the constituencies three times MP and Seth Adjei Baa, a former MP have all filed to seek for the mandates of the delegates to represent the NPP in the 2020 general election.
Joyce Opoku Boateng, Deputy Chief Executive Officer of Middle Belt Development Authority, who is eyeing the seat for the third time, one Joseph Frimpong and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Ghana Publishing Company, David Asante, have all filed to challenge the two former MPs and the current MP.
The regional Secretary of the NPP, Jeff Konadu Addo, says Nkawkaw is the only constituency in the region with the highest number of candidates.
Political pundits have said the huge number of candidates contesting put the MP who doubles as the Eastern Regional Minister at an advantageous position. They posit that while his popularity within the constituency keep waning, he still has a good number of delegates who are loyal to him and will go for him on any day.
But for David Asante, convener of pro-government pressure group, Let My Vote Count Alliance (LMVCA) and Joseph Frimpong, all the remaining four have contested the Primaries before.
In 2012 when Mr. Kwakye Darfour left his position as the Eastern Regional treasurer of the party to go and contest, he was challenged by all of these faces save one Vida Agyekum, making this year’s primaries ‘a contest of old faces’.
Eric Kwakye Darfour
The incumbent MP is the current Eastern Regional Minister. Before his election as MP in 2012, he served as the party’s Eastern Regional Treasurer. A successful private businessman, he is the CEO of Evovans Company Limited and ECOWAS Hotel Limited, Nkawkaw.
Mr. Kwakye Darfour studied in the University of Dakar, Senegal, for a higher diploma in French and later acquired BA (HONS) in French and Linguistics from University of Ghana, Legon. The two terms MP who is seeking a third term is a member of the Committees of Privileges and Foreign Affairs.
Okerchiri Kwabena Adusa
The Private Legal Practitioner is a former MP for the area having served the constituency from 1996 to 2008. He again contested NPP Primaries in 2012 but lost to the incumbent MP. In parliament, he served on several committees including becoming the chairman of the foreign affairs committee. He is noted for his strong advocacy against the MP’s share of the District Assemblies Common Fund. He believes MPs would be better off without the common fund. He is thus noted for urging MPs to be truthful to their constituents advising them not to promise too much since such promises comes with its own risks.
Seth Adjei Baa
Shaaba, as Mr. Adjei Baa is affectionately called was the MP for the area from 2009 to 2013. He won the 2008 parliamentary seat as an independent candidate after he had been denied access to contest the NPP’s parliamentary primaries that year. However in Parliament, he joined the NPP minority and contested the NPP Primaries in the constituency in 2012 where he lost to the current MP. The private businessman in 2016 sought to seek refuge at the Okai Koi North Constituency in the Greater Accra region, but lost to the incumbent MP for the area, Fuseini Issah, in the NPP Primaries.
Joyce Opoku Boateng
She is the Deputy Chief Executive Officer of Middle Belt Development Authority. The Private Legal Practitioner has contested the NPP Primaries on two occasions already, losing in both 2012 and 2016 to the incumbent MP, Kwakye Darfour.
Ahead of the party’s primaries in orphan constituencies last year, she was appointed as a member of the Appeals Committee for the election in all 16 regions. Ms. Opoku-Boateng is also a member of the Constitutional & Legal Committee of the party. A Human Rights Activist, she is the founder of Nimbus Foundation – an NGO focusing mainly on the rights of women and children.
He is the Managing Director of the Ghana Publishing Company and the convener of pro-government pressure group LMVCA. He was recently named among the Top 50 CEOs in the country according to a release by Avance Media. At the NiBS Ghana Innovation Awards held last year, he was adjudged the promising CEO of the Year in the Public Sector. In 2013, he declared his intention to contest the NPP national youth organizer position but later pulled out of the race. David, the youngest among the aspirants, says his decision to contest is to create opportunities for the youth of the constituency.