By the Grace of Almighty God I was privileged to be the Deputy Minister of Local Government from 2001 to 2004 and through that office I got to know majority of the District Chief Executives nationwide.
One of them, a journalist by profession, Hon KWESI BINEY was DCE for Ahanta West with its capital at Agona Nkwanta. I was very impressed with Hon Biney's quality of services as a DCE, his contributions at DCE conferences and I told myself this man will go places in future.
Hon Biney has been a regular columnist in the Daily Guide for some years now, writing "Vice from the West". I have never missed any of his articles.
I was not at all surprised when I heard that he was boldly contesting the incumbent MP for Ahanta West, Hon Kumi for the NPP ticket. He garnered 249 votes against the incumbents' whipping 427 votes to retain his seat.
Majority of the losing candidate have quietly returned to their shell, to nurse their wuonds, but not so, for Honorable Kwesi Biney. He boldly entered the studios of the OGYA FM in Agona Nkwanta and disclosed to his listeners according to the Chronicle reporter Kwesi Alfred Adams at page 9 of the June 25th issue of the paper that "some of the delegates had returned the envelopes he gave to them... ... ... ."
Honorable Kwesi Biney, are you being absolutely sincere, honest and candid or you are taking us all for a ride? Delegates took your envelopes promising to vote for you, and when they did not, they voluntarily returned the envelopes to you?
Kwesi Biney said the envelopes were for "transport" but he did not say how much was in it.!!!!!!!!!!!!!
According to the media, as many as 40 sitting MPs lost the contest at the primaries, and some of the media houses claimed "NPP Big Guns Fell" with Majority Leader Hon Osei Kyei Mensah Bonsu bemoaning the high attrition rate of MPs, and Hon Haruna Iddrisu Minority Leader, mocking him amidstriotans laughing in the House.
Let nobody be fooled. If you "envelope" for "transportation" is FAT, your votes will be FAT - it was as simple as that.
Forget about the newspaper hurraah's of the winning candidates, and go behind - WHAT REALLY HAPPENED?
In one Accra based constituency which was closely fought, with incumbent scraping home with less than 10 votes, both he and the challenger gave really FAT envelopes plus gas cylinders, cloths and mobile phones !!!!!!!!
In one extreme case, the incumbent stomped home after buying cars for each of the executives.!!!!!!!!!!!
In one Constituency, the contestants were FOUR - the most qualified candidate, very capable of going to Parliament to argue, to serve his people - he had single 1 vote. The incumbent lost after paying a lefty fee of 300,000 Gh Cedis to the executives!!!!!!!!!!!!
Do you want to contest NPP primaries? How fat is your bank account? Otherwise, forget it.
This hasbeen the pattern every four years, when NPP holds primaries, so much that four years ago, when NDC saw money power in full display at NPP primaries, held an emergency conference and voted that instead of so called "delegates" to decide who should represent the party, EVERY CARD BEARING MEMBER of the Party must vote in the selection of the Candidate to represent the Constituency.
In NPP tradition dies hard, so we still stick to the "delegates' but seriously speaking, are they 'delegates"? Representing who?
They are NOT delegates. They are polling station executives, elected not so much to vote at 'primaries" but to steer the affair of the party at the polling station, hold the NPP flag high, attend funerals, organize rallies and generally lead the party for four years. Also the Constituency executives and Council of Elders in of the party - that is all ... ... ... ... ...
Is it not very serious that for such an important decision as to who should represent the party at the Parliamentary elections, very key yesteryear leaders of the party are excluded - former MPs, former Ministers, former Constituency executives, former polling station executives - why exclude them?
Why don't you solve the problem by saying that look here, if you want to represent the party in the General Election don't go and buy bicycles, gas cylinders and envelopes for any polling station executives masquerading as "delegates", but rather go round the entire constituency convincing ALL card bearing members of the party that you are the best person to represent the party !!!!!!!!!
The Akans have a very interesting proverbs: "If you see somebody's beard on fire, and you have a beard, quickly look for a bucket of water close by, ready to douse the fire if it should come to your beard.
All MPs must as a matter of urgency close ranks and pass a law that every DCE must be elected by popular ballot instead of by lobbying the Presidency for shortlisting and final apartment.
When that happens, all ambitious young men will hunger for the more powerful more influential Position of DCE and jettison MPs to the background, and they will have their peace.
In the US, if you want to test your popularity or if you are hungry to serve, then run for GOVERNOR of your state - not congress. What "power" do they have?
Here in Ghana, you spend ten billion old cedis to win NPP primaries, and go to Parliament - to do what? You have NO VOTE at the District Assembly which awards contracts and decide on which projects to be carried out. The DCE who erroneously envies you sit on your common fund and is at loggerheads with you, spoiling your back while you are in Parliament... ... ... ... ... ... . What an absurdity?
A certain incumbent and his girlfriend, Local Constituency Chairman, hijacked the party's nomination forms and prevented three very serious contenders from filing papers to contest him at the primaries, so that he can go UNOPPOSED and be acclaimed as such.
If Hon Kwesi Biney is saying that delegates have returned his envelopes t o him, then he should thank Almighty God for his good fortune.
But I honestly think that the money factor is too much in our polities... ... ... ... ... ...