Supporters of the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) honked vehicle horns in the streets Saturday evening in wild celebrations of the outcome of the parliamentary primary of the incumbent New Patriotic Party (NPP) in the Navrongo Central Constituency.
The result of the weekend’s polls sets up a ‘Tangoba-Tangombu’ ballot battle in that constituency as Ghana prepares for the 2020 general elections. The Upper East Regional Minister, Tangoba Abayage, captured 313 votes to defeat the sitting legislator and Minister for Aviation, Joseph Kofi Adda, who obtained 269 votes.
For the jubilant umbrella party supporters, Adda’s downfall at the polls, which also saw 3 votes rejected, is pointing to the 2020 general elections as a stroll in the park (a very easy task) in the Navrongo Central Constituency for the NDC’s parliamentary candidate, Sampson Tangombu Chiragia, against his main contender, the NPP’s Tangoba Abayage.
“This is an indication that the people of Navrongo have rejected the NPP. They have not rejected Kofi Adda. The party has been rejected in Navrongo. With their failed promises, they have not done anything. It’s not about Kofi; it’s about the party. It’s a sad day for them. The candidate that they could have used to win the election, they’ve sacked that candidate. They’ve told us that they have failed. We even won the election 3 years ago because the NPP have failed.
“They said we didn’t need to borrow. They said they would get you jobs. You can see what is happening today. They said they could even build schools. They said they would arrest the dollar. Ask them whether they’ve arrested the dollar. They promised one village one dam, one district one factory. How many factories do we have in Navrongo? Have you seen any factory? They have failed,” the NDC’s Navrongo Central parliamentary candidate, generally referred to as “S.T.C” according to the initials of his name, told journalists in Navrongo after the Electoral Commission (EC) had declared the NPP’s polls results.
Several constituents, most of them wearing NDC-branded outfits and looking very happy in an atmosphere that looked like an NDC celebration party was about to begin in the constituency over the results of the NPP’s primary, surrounded Sampson Chiragia as he spoke confidently to the press.
Rotating results of general elections between NDC and NPP since 1996
Presidential polls have gone to the advantage of either of the NDC and the NPP in the Navrongo Central Constituency since 1996, four years after democracy was reintroduced in Ghana. Similarly, the parliamentary seat has continued to swing like a pendulum between the two sides over the same period.
In 1996, the NDC, with 16,733 votes (52.97%), beat the NPP at the presidential polls that also saw the NPP secure 12,242 votes (38.75%). The NDC polled 16,811 votes (41.10%) to win the seat against the NPP which captured 15,599 votes (38.10%).
The NPP won the first round of the 2000 presidential election in that constituency with 11,295 votes (43.15%) as the NDC gained 10,827 votes (41.36%). But with 13,121 votes (54.57%) captured in the run-off, the NDC beat the NPP whose tally dropped to 10,923 votes (45.43%). But the NPP, with 11,246 votes (41.50%), went marginally ahead of the NDC, which got 11,103 votes (40.90%), to grab the parliamentary seat that year.
A parliamentary by-election held in the constituency in 2003 favoured the NPP as the elephant party took the lion’s share of 12,200 votes (57.9%) against the NDC’s 4,929 votes (23.4%). The 2004 general elections saw the NDC and the NPP garner 11,471 votes (37.67%) and 12,968 votes (42.59%) respectively at the presidential level as well as 6,201 votes (19.60%) and 12,444 votes (39.30%) respectively on the parliamentary stage.
The first round of the 2008 presidential polls gave the NDC 14, 218 votes (45.94%) and the NPP 13,867 votes (44.81%). The run-off handed the NDC 16,863 votes (54.48%) and the NPP 14,092 votes (45.52%). The NPP, however, maintained the seat with 14,354 votes (45.23%), surpassing the NDC’s 13,224 votes (41.67%).
In 2012, the NDC beat the NPP at the presidential polls, obtaining 19, 916 votes (59.76%) against the 12,780 votes (38.35%) obtained by its regular main opponent. The NDC also recaptured the parliamentary seat with 17,907 votes (53.16%), the NPP gathering 15,443 votes (45.84%). The NPP, with 18,759 votes (48.31%), finished behind the NDC, which obtained 18, 810 votes (48.44%), at the 2016 presidential elections, but it won back the seat with 20,667 votes (52.72%) against the NDC’s 17,203 votes (43.89%).
With the 2020 general elections just five months away, the pendulum of victory, which hitherto had been moving back and forth between Kofi Adda and Mark Woyongo, now swings between Tangoba and Tangombu.