It is now clear that the next Parliament will miss the services of more experienced parliamentarians who have publicly declared their intention not to seek re-election as the country prepares for the next general election in December 2016.
One of the high-profile legislators who will not be seeking re-election, according to our sources, is Majority Leader, Alban Kingsford Sumana Bagbin, who has been in Parliament since 1993.
The incumbent Majority Leader represents the Nadowli West Constituency in the Upper West Region.
He became the Majority Leader in Parliament in 2009 after announcing his intention to run for president in 2008 on the NDC ticket, but never stood for the primaries.
He was appointed Minister for Water Resources, Works and Housing by President Mills and subsequently re-assigned as Majority Leader of Parliament under President Mahama’s tenure of office.
Ironically, the incumbent Majority Leader who would not be seeking election for the seventh time, is one of many MPs who are unhappy that many of the experienced sitting MPs are not seeking re-election.
Mr. Bagbin argued in 2008 when he was going to contest for the fifth time that, for parliamentary democracy to be consolidated and entrenched, “we need pillars not only in terms of institutions but the human resource whose expertise must be tapped for the general good of all.”
According to him, in a Parliament where there was a high attrition rate, there was barely any institutional growth as the institution kept on re-inventing the wheel.
“It is on that basis that I call on my colleagues contemplating not to seek re-election to reconsider their decisions and let us continue to serve Mother Ghana,” he pleaded in 2008.
His position at the time was that it was an honour to serve one’s people and country, for which reason he would forever be grateful to the people of his constituency and Ghanaians for giving him the opportunity to make a difference in their lives.
The imminent retirement of Bagbin follows an earlier announcement last month by the First Speaker of Parliament and the MP for Cape Coast North, Barton Odro that he will bow out at the end of this term in December 2016.
Among the experienced NDC parliamentarians not seeking re-election, The General Telegraph has gathered, are Mrs. Juliana Azumah-Mensah, MP for Agortime Ziope; Mr. Amadu Seido, MP for Yapei-Kasangu; Mr. Fritz Frederic Baffour of Ablekuma South; Ablekuma Central, Theophilus Tetteh Chaie; MP for Klottey Korle, Nii Armah Ashietey, whose constituency is being eyed by Dr. Ezanetor Rawlings the daughter of former President Jerry Rawlings; and Dr. Nii Oakley Quaye-Kumah, MP for Krowor.
Dr. Quaye-Kumah, a former deputy minister of Roads and Transport during the Prof Mills’ administration, is reported to be bed-ridden over the past few months.
Dr. Quaye-Kumah, a veterinary surgeon, has been absent from parliament for months and close aides say he would, therefore, not seek re-election due to his poor health condition.
The number could, still, go up in the event of some of the experienced ones either losing out during their respective party primaries or in the parliamentary elections in December.
Unlike his colleagues who are giving up their seats, Mr. Enoch Teye Mensah, NDC MP for Ningo-Prampram who has been an MP since the country returned to constitutional rule in 1993, has
decided to contest the seat for the fifth time, hoping to be part of the next Parliament and bring his experience to bear on parliamentary proceedings.
He is one of the few MPs in the House who are going to contest for the fifth time. In fact, Mr. Mensah, known among his peers as ”a regional MP” due to his commitment not only to his constituency but also the whole Greater Accra Region.
His close aide told The General Telegraph that the veteran legislator insists he does not have a personal drive to contest the seat and that his sixth attempt was a decision from the rank and file of the NDC from his constituency and the national leadership, saying that, according to them, “I have performed well as an MP and there is still more that they will gain from me if I win the seat for the fifth time.”
He said a survey conducted by the NDC executive in the constituency revealed that the people “still need me as their MP”.
The MP, who started as a back bencher in 1993, has risen through the NDC leadership in the House to become the Minority Chief Whip after the NDC lost the 2000 elections, a position he held up to the general elections in 2008. In January 2009, he became the Majority Chief Whip in parliament.
Mr. Mensah has described as worrying, the attrition rate in Ghana’s Parliament.
The veteran legislator explains that this development is not helping the growth of Parliament as a law-making institution.
ET Mensah is particularly worried about the loss of some experienced MPs in the New Patriotic Party’s (NPP) parliamentary primaries. Twenty-four MPs, many of them front benchers, lost in their bid to contest the 2016 parliamentary elections.
Some of them include Dr. Richard Anane of Nhyiaeso Constituency, Dr. Afriyie Akoto of Kwadoso and Francis Addai-Nimoh of the Mampong Constituency.
Mr. Mensah believes that the trend will weaken Parliament.
“These are lessons that all of us must learn. The attrition in Parliament is not helping the growth of Ghana’s law making body. It doesn’t happen anywhere,” he said while cautioning against what he termed “Ma obi so nko bi” mantra.
But the veteran, who is seeking election for the seventh time, will have to contend with clearing the hurdle of winning the NDC’s primary on November 7, 2015, when he contests one of the youthful breeds of the party, Sam George.
The out-spoken Presidential Staffer is one of the new faces bent on wrestling seats from some incumbent NDC MPs.
Another presidential staffer Dr. Clement Apaak has also disclosed his intention to contest the Builsa South seat which is currently being held by Alhassan Azong of the PNC who served as Minister under the Mills administration.
The PNC has been angry with plans by the NDC to field candidates in constituencies with incumbent PNC Members of Parliament. The PNC is arguing that, because of the alliance it has with the governing party, its MP must not be contested by NDC candidates.
But the NDC has described the PNC’s call to discourage its members from contesting in constituencies occupied by the PNC as inappropriate and suicidal.
The Deputy General Secretary of the National Democratic Congress, George Lawson, told Citi News that it is wrong for the PNC to issue such a warning
“You don’t hand over constituency seats; it’s the people who decide which political party member is supposed to lead them. How do we hand over? That is suicidal,” he said.
George Lawson says the PNC went against the gentleman’s agreement between the two parties by talking to the media about this proposal before contacting the NDC.
“We have what we call gentleman’s agreement. It doesn’t mean they have to issue a public statement. If they want to do this, then come and let’s talk; you do not go to the media. They have not come to tell us anything”
Others include deputy Minister of Power, John Jinapor, who is vying to take over the Yapei-Kusangu seat Alhaji Amadu Seidu.
The Communications Director of Zoomlion, Mr. Robert Coleman, is also in the race for the Ayawaso Central constituency to battle it out with the sitting NPP MP, Henry Quartey Papafio who took over from I. C. Quaye in 2013.
Alhaji Alhassan Suhuyini of Radio Gold is also warming up for the Tamale North constituency in the Northern Region while Ahmed Hakim, a member of the government’s communications team, is also in the race for Salaga South constituency to kick out the sitting MP, Alhaji Ibrahim Dey.
Hakim, a former news editor of The Daily Heritage newspaper, is considered the favorite to win the primary, having contested the last election and narrowly losing to the current MP.
Deputy Coordinator for the National Youth Authority, Mr. Peter Otokunor, announced his bid for the Ablekuma Central at a campaign launch last week.
The mayor of Accra, Dr. Alfred Nii Oko Vanderpuije, is also in the race for Ablekuma South to take over from Fritz Baffour who has indicated that he would not be seeking re-election.
Other youthful NDC activists eyeing various seats include entertainer and radio presenter, Gabriel Abeiku Aggrey (popularly known as Abeiku Santana), who will be contesting the Mfantseman West constituency seat.
Abeiku Santana showed his political allegiance to the NDC when he campaigned for President Mahama in the 2012 presidential election.
Eric Don Arthur of TV3 is also going in for the Effutu constituency in the Central Region while a entertainer, Kwame Dzokoto, is circulating his posters in the Nsuaem Constituency.
Another TV personality, Mr. Gideon Aryeequaye, is reported to be coming back to contest the Ngleshie-Amanfro seat after losing in his first attempt to Bright Edward Demordzi in 2012.
Source: peacefmonline.com 2015-08-24