Swathes of voters in the Ejisu Constituency have publicly expressed disapproval of what they cast as “sickening monetization” of the governing New Patriotic Party’s (NPP) primaries to pick a candidate for the upcoming parliamentary election.
The disturbing development, they say, is doing irreparable damage to faith in politics.
The huge campaign spending they are seeing, is unmatched in the area’s political history – raising questions about the sources of funding. The parliamentary primary election has become a golden opportunity for the party’s delegates in the area – every one of them is getting a handsome amount of money from the aspirants.
Three persons are in the race for the party’s parliamentary ticket – Mr. Kwabena Owusu Aduomi, the incumbent, Mr. John Kumah, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the National Entrepreneurial and Innovation Programme (NEIP), and Mrs. Abena Pokuaa Amoah Boaitey, CEO of Golden Beach Hotels Group.
The public outrage is being fueled by a video on the performance of a campaign song, composed for one of the aspirants, Mr. Kumah by two musicians – Nicholas Omane Achampong, and Kwadwo Ampong, that has gone viral.
In the video, the pair – musicians, are seen performing the song at the Kokobra residence of the NEIP CEO, in front of some of his supporters.
Many of those, who spoke to the Ghana News Agency (GNA) wondered why anybody, who was not yet a candidate in the 2020 general election, would be blowing their hard-earned money on campaign song and celebrities endorsement.
Kwame Boamah, a businessman at Kwamo, said “my brother, this is unheard of, it is nauseating - an unimaginable wasteful spending”.
Akwasi Afriyie, a student, could not hide his frustration, when he said: “Many of us are getting fatigued and angered by how things are playing out and we are curious to know the funding sources.”
Agnes Mensah, a trader at Ejisu, said “what is happening - what we are seeing can sap public trust”.
Some of the delegates told the GNA that they had opened their doors to all the aspirants and ready to take any amount of money given to them but they would not be influenced by that.
They were going to put the general good of their party and the constituency ahead of any other consideration.
Dr. Kwasi Amakye-Boateng, a Senior Lecturer at the History and Political Studies Department, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), sharing his thoughts on the monetization of elections, said poverty was to blame.
“We have been facing this problem as a nation because of the level of poverty in our system. It is a setback to building a resilient democracy.”
He was however, hopeful that things were going to get better in the course of time, saying: “Gradually, we will get to the stage where voters could no longer be bought with money.”
Dr. Amakye-Boateng underlined the need to do more to strengthen the economy, to give jobs and create wealth for the people.
“When this is done it would reduce the tendency of the Ghanaian voter being influenced with money in order to sway his or her decision during elections”, he added.