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General News
Amoateng''s Seat Up For Grabs Tomorrow 3/12/2007
The people of Nkoranza North constituency will tomorrow vote to elect their Member of Parliament, a seat which effectively became vacant a little over a year ago but only declared vacant last month following the resignation of Eric Amoateng, who is being tried in America on charges of smuggling heroine.

This contest is considered by all sides as the first real test of the popularity of the two main parties since the 2004 general elections. This is because it has long been a swing seat and the circumstances that led to the by-election cannot be said to command any sympathy votes for the incumbent party.

The Regional Chairman of the ruling party has vowed to quit his post if he failed to secure the seat for his party. John Evans Atta Mills, National Democratic Congress flagbearer for the 2008 general elections was in the constituency with some of his party''s big guns. He was notably accompanied by two NDC MPs, Collins Dauda and Ahmed Sorogho, when he toured some of the very communities the New Patriotic Party was also visiting.

Collins Dauda, MP for Asutifi South, speaking to The Statesman boasted highly confidently that the NDC would win by sixty percent and urged Nana Obiri Boahen, the Brong Ahafo Regional NPP chairman to prepare for his resignation as he pledged to do should the NPP lose the by-election. Both leading parties are equally confident of winning. Their talk of victory this time is seen as real. Until Amoateng"s impressive win in 2004, Nkoranza North was controlled by the NDC. The NDC’s Hayford Francis Amoako won the then Nkoranza seat in 2000 with 49.6 percent of the vote, beating Kwame Amporfo Twumasi of the NPP and five others. Earlier, Theresa Nyarko Fofie had done even better, obtaining 69 percent of the vote to Yaw Kudom of the NPP’s 25 percent in the 1996 election.

The leadership of the NPP and NPP, the two major contenders, over the weekend rounded up their rallies, criss-crossing the communities in the constituency. President John Agyekum Kufuor, leading the NPP campaign machinery visited several of the communities at the weekend before returning to London to board a special flight today for his royal visit to Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom. President Kufuor’s message was simple: Vote for the party and not the individual. At a durbar at Pinihin, the President told the people that he needed parliamentarians who understand the NPP’s philosophy and could therefore easily work with him.

He, therefore, urged the people to return the seat to the ruling party by voting for Derek Oduro, the NPP’s aspirant. President Kufuor said it would be wrong to replace Mr Amoateng with a person who does not understand "the language of the NPP.” Responding to a request by Nana Kudom Gabriel, chief of Pinihin, the President said the supply of potable water supply was to be improved and expanded. President Kufuor also promised the farming community tractors and other equipment for higher productivity.

Nkoranza North constituency organising secretary for the NPP told this reporter that the northern part of the constituency had always been a strong hold of the NPP even at the period the area was not divided and was being controlled by the NDC. According to him, the result of tomorrow’s by-election is a foregone conclusion, predicting a 75 percent win for the NPP. The NPP supporters who spoke to our reporter said the NDC candidates’ father did nothing for the community at the end of his two terms as an MP.

Like father like son, they argued that the son cannot perform any better. The NPP entourage includes Nana Ohene Ntow, General Secretary, Peter Mac Manu, Chairman, some notable presidential aspirants and Ministers.


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