The governing New Patriotic Party (NPP) Members of Parliament (MPs) will be facing party delegates in crucial primaries to justify their inclusion in Ghana’s legislature.

NPP will be holding parliamentary primaries slated for Saturday, June 20 in 166 out of 169 constituencies where the party has sitting MPs.

According to a list issued by party’s General Secretary John Boadu recently, about 375 aspirants will contest in 101 constituencies while 65 candidates go unopposed.

Three constituencies have been suspended from the primaries due to certain developments, which have cropped up in those areas.

They are Kwadaso in the Ashanti Region, Gushegu in the Northern Region and Dormaa Central in the Bono Region.

Among those who are expected to win their primaries are the Minister for Local Government and Rural Development, Hajia Alima Mahama who is the MP for Nalerigu/Gambaga in the North East Region.

She is the only NPP MP in all the five regions of the North and her exemplary performance as a minister, according to information gathered, will give her a convincing win against two male aspirants in the contest.

In the Eastern region, a candidate who is also expected to be among the winners in the primaries is the MP for Akuapem South, Mr O. B. Amoah.

He is facing two aspirants in the crucial race, Kwame Ofori-Gyau and Eric Samuel Annor but the Deputy Minister for Local Government and Rural Development is highly tipped to win due to his immense contribution to the development of the constituency.

Similarly, MP for Tema West in the Greater Accra region and Deputy Minister for Trade and Industry, Kingsley Carlos Ahenkorah is expected to brush aside two contestants to win the race.

Mr Ahenkorah has had some few challenges with some freight forwarders in the constituency due to some recent happenings at the Ports.

However, those issues are not likely to prevent his highly anticipated victory.

Others facing stiff opposition but likely to go through are MP for Navrongo Central in the Upper East Region, Mr Joseph Kofi Adda who is being contested by the Regional Minister Tagnoba Abayage; MP for Lawra in the Upper West Region, Anthony Abayifaa Karbo, and MP for Takoradi in the Western Region, Kwabena Okyere Darko-Mensah.

Unopposed candidates

At a news conference to announce the decision by the party in Accra recently, the NPP chief scribe, Mr John Boadu, stressed that there would be no elections in constituencies where candidates were unopposed.

He, however, said delegates in such constituencies would be required to converge on their various electoral areas to be addressed by the candidates.

The constituencies, Mr John Boadu pointed out, Krachi West, an orphan constituency in the Oti Region, since it also joined the list of constituencies with unopposed candidates.

COVID-19 protocols

Mr Joh Boadu said the primaries would be conducted in strict compliance with the COVID-19 health protocols.

“Accordingly, the party, while making sure there are not more than 100 people congregated at a voting centre, will also be making available alcohol-based hand sanitisers at each polling centre for delegates to sanitise their hands before participating in the polls,” he said.

He added that the party will procure nose masks which shall be given to every delegate to ensure his or her protection against the spread of the virus.

Modalities for elections

Giving the modalities, the General Secretary said the primaries would be held on electoral area basis, per the Electoral Commission’s (EC’s) designation.

He however indicated that the Constituency Council of Elders, the Constituency Executive Committee, as well as the party’s founding members who were signatories to the registration document of the party at the EC, would all be accredited to vote at the Constituency Secretariat.

Mr John Boadu said voting would commence at 7 a.m. and end at 1pm, adding that counting would be done immediately after the close of polls at each Electoral Area Polling Centre and the Constituency Secretariat Polling Centre.

Electoral offences

Touching on voting offences, he said an attempt to vote more than once at the primaries, buying or selling votes, compelling a delegate to vote in a particular way and obstructing any person from freely exercising his or her right to vote were prohibited.

He added that delegates were also barred from taking pictures of their marked ballot papers or displaying them to make it known to others who they voted for.

Mr John Boadu also advised candidates to campaign on issues and refrain from levelling unsubstantiated allegations, personal attacks and vilifications against their opponents.

“No candidate shall undertake any activity that will polarise that constituency along tribal, religious and other factional lines. Candidates shall also require their supporters not to engage in any of these activities,” he stressed.