The opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) has suspended its Parliamentary election process in the Asawase Constituency in the Ashanti region.
The party has also suspended the exercise in four other constituencies. They include – Yilo Krobo in the Eastern region, Mpohor (Western region), Ellembelle and Fanteakwa North Constituencies.
A statement signed by the party’s General Secretary, Johnson Asiedu Nketiah, on Tuesday, August 20, did not indicate when the exercise would be held in the affected areas as the party gears up for the parliamentary primaries on Saturday, August 24, 2019.
There is uneasy calm prevailing within members and sympathisers of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) in the Asawase Constituency of the Ashanti region.
The crux of that uneasiness stems from recent events that rocked that constituency when an aspirant made a bid to contest the primary of the constituency –— a move that did not sit well with some interests within the fold of the NDC party in that part of the country.
The incumbent Member of Parliament for the Asawase Constituency is Alhaji Mohammed Mubarak Muntaka who has served as MP for the area since 2005.
However, when the NDC opened the door for the picking of nomination forms for the primaries of constituencies across the country, there emerged another aspirant in the person of Alhaji Mubarick Masawudu, a grassroot member of the party believed to have a considerable following.
He, however, could not file his nomination for reasons that are not too clear necessitating a number of appeals that ended ultimately at the national headquaters of the party.
Alhaji Muntaka has served very well in Parliament (three terms) as MP for Asawase and has held various positions, including being a Youth and Sports Minister under the Mills administration.
He was requested by President Mills to proceed on leave while allegations of corruption against him were investigated.
He, however, resigned from government following the acceptance by President Mills of the findings of the investigative committee.
He is noted for outstanding roles such as being the Majority Chief Whip under the tenure of former President John Dramani Mahama.
He became the MP for Asawase following the death of Dr Gibril Adamu Mohammed who had won the election in December 2004 but passed on shortly after.
That culminated in a by-election which saw Alhaji Muntaka win the seat with 31,017 votes representing a percentage of 60.4 votes cast while his closest contender for the New Patriotic Party (NPP), Mr Shaibu Musah Sharif had 19,875 representing 38.7 per cent.
In the 2008 election, he garnered 36,234 votes representing 56.6 per cent while the candidate of the NPP, Dr Mohammed Abdul Kabir had 27,118 votes translating as 42.2 per cent.
In 2012, Alhaji Muntaka had 57.01 per cent with 43,917 votes while Nana Okyere-Tawia Antwi of the NPP had 40.26 per cent with 31,013 votes while in the 2016 election, Alhaji Muntaka of the NDC had 39,095 votes rated as 53.57 votes while Alhaji Alidu Seidu of the NPP polled 33,490 votes representing 45.89 per cent of the total valid votes cast.
On July 23, 2019 or thereabout, a committee was set up, made up of eminent persons within the party to listen to the case of Mubarick Masawudu but till now, no determination has been made of the case.
Tension is simmering within the constituency and the delay in bringing finality to the matter by the national officers might not portend positively for the NDC.
It appears those in favour of Mubarick are holding themselves in readiness to urge him to contest as an independent candidate should the party decide against his interest.
The party, at the national level, it has been gathered, is making moves and engaging with key stakeholders towards addressing the situation but the sooner they came out the better, else the vacuum being created by the seeming indecision, may give space to divisiveness.
Decline of fortunes
The major concern that emerged among stakeholders in the constituency, especially the rank and file of the party in the constituency was with regards to the gradual decline of the electoral figures of the party in the constituency election.
That, they claimed, was one issue that had to be dealt with as the party geared up to win the 2020 general election which according to them, required optimal votes at every level of the competition.
However, the fear being expressed was that with the dwindling electoral fortunes of the incumbent, there was the need to put forward, a fresh face with the needed grassroot support to supplant the incumbent and arrest the eroding fortunes of the party.
By J. Ofori, Daily Mail GH