Madina votes not on auto pilot

Boniface Vrs Sosu

Highly populated and lively Madina, an Accra inner city, continues to be celebrated for its multi-religious and multi-ethnic co-existence.

The sprawling downtown is located in the eastern part of Accra, Ghana’s capital, near the campus of the University of Ghana, Legon, and hosts a population of more than 130.000.

It is home for everyone – the poor, the rich, the famous, religious and people of all ethnicities.

For many, Madina is a capital within the capital and one of the key determinants of national elections.

From 2004 when the Constituency was created, it has been a two-horse race course between the National Democratic Congress (NDC) and the New Patriotic Party (NPP) with very interesting parliamentary results indicative of the fact that votes in the Constituency are not on auto pilot – candidates must work for them.

Statistics from the Electoral Commission indicate that in 2004, the NDC’s Amadu Sorogho won the seat with 50.2 per cent of the votes, whiles the NPP’s Abdulai Baba got 47.4 per cent.

In 2008, the NDC increased the margin to 70.1 per cent, leaving the NPP with 29.9 per cent, to retain the seat.

The NPP fought back in 2012 and got 43.8 per cent of the votes but the NDC held on to the seat with 52.1 per cent of the votes.

The tables finally turned in 2016 when the NPP’s Abu-Baker Boniface snatched the seat from the NDC with 54.90 per cent against the NDC’s 43.13 per cent.

The figures give credence to the saying that every election is unique, taking into consideration the issues, contestants, the voters and the election atmosphere.

Though COVID-19 appeared to have delayed political activities in the Constituency, it has presented new and innovative ways of political campaigning with the two parties already engaging voters in varied ways.

The incumbent, the NPP’s Abu-Baker Boniface, who is a friend to churches and mosques, has visited them a couple of times with his reelection messages, trumpeting his support for the education sector in the Constituency through the construction of classroom blocks and scholarships among others.

Youth and sports development – construction of astro turf and fixing of access roads and support for the vulnerable – women, children and the elderly are key messages.

“I want to consolidate the gains in Madina. It is Mission Madina. I want to create more jobs, improve security, infrastructure and touch more hearts,” he said.

But his contender, the NDC’s Francis-Xavier Sosu, an International Human Rights Lawyer says the Member of Parliament has achieved little for the Constituency.

He says, “Almost all development projects in Madina were provided by NDC-the Madina Market, Lorry station, school blocks, maternity wards, teachers’ quarters, scholarships and municipal status…”

Sosu says his background as a lawyer and a former street kid puts him in a better position to “transform” Madina.

He says his aim is to create “sustainable” jobs, address concerns of school dropout, provide shelter for crime victims with no place of abode, establish career centres in all electoral areas and establish mobile clinic to take health care to the vulnerable and scholarships for needy pupils and students.

“I am young and Madina sees its future with me. We will work together to deliver a new Madina,” the Pastor and Politician, said.

Whilst Mr Boniface is using ‘retail campaigning’ strategy with occasional visits to churches, mosques and other social gathering, Sosu is using ‘focus group’ discussion methodology to sell his message.

Unfortunately, voters in Madina cannot be predicted. They are like the typical political party delegates who must be feared, according to the late Kwadwo Owusu Afriyie, popularly known as Sir John.

Hence, it is unclear who is likely to win the seat in the December Parliamentary election in the Constituency but what is certain is that, it is promising to be interesting and very close.

What is also known is that, when Madina wants, NPP, it is NPP and if it wants NDC, it is NDC, as suggested by Kofi Asante, a trader.

Open space advertising is a bit low with a fewer billboards and posters compared with the practice in previous elections.

Bonartey Dosu, a businessman describes Boniface as the “Peoples’ Man”.

“…He is a friend to everybody. He knows the Constituency-Madina, La Nkwantanang and Zongo and meets our needs accordingly,” says Abdul Khadril, a Mechanic.

Jerry Asumani, a student also says, Sosu is the “change we want. He is vibrant and can work for Madina. He can solve the needs of the vulnerable because he is a Human Rights Lawyer and he can fix our roads too because he is young and knows our issues.”

“It is time for Sosu. He is our man and we are all going to work for him and vote for him,” Aisha Mumuni, a Sales Executive said.

It is appearing to be a friendly contest in view of the personalities involved with both candidates saying, they do not support violence.

“Politics is like hunting, the luckiest gets the catch for the family,” says Boniface, with Sosu concluding “My desire is to serve the people, not to fight.”

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