Confusion has hit the New Patriotic Party (NPP) over the suitability of Francisca Oteng-Mensah, a 22-year old “inexperienced” student of the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) as its Parliamentary candidate for the Kwabre East Constituency of the Ashanti Region.
Former General Secretary of the NPP, Kwadwo Owusu Afriyie, popularly known as Sir John, and the head of the Political Science Department of KNUST, Dr. Richard Amoako Baah, have expressed dissatisfaction at the election of a 22-year-old female candidate in Saturday’s parliamentary primaries, but NPP National Youth Organiser, Sammie Awuku, disagrees with them.
However, out of the confusion, details are emerging that the ticket was sold out to her by the 331 eligible voters, who voted for her through the instrumentality of her Kumasi-based rich father, Dr. Kwaku Oteng-Mensah, owner of Angel Herbal, Angel FM, Angel TV and Angel Educational Complex, under the Angel Group of Companies.
He was said to have provided the main financial muscle to his “untested” daughter’s campaign with sharing of TV sets years ahead of the contest and the erection of a giant billboards in the Kwabre East Constituency, displaying a two-storey Constituency office complex. The billboards, had Nana Akufo-Addo and Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia’s pictures and that of the aspirant
Francisca Oteng-Mensah, confirmed the monetary inducement of her father in last Saturday’s contest, saying
“Yes God has blessed my dad with money, and yes he sponsored me. He helped our campaign with flyers, posters and a whole lot, but that wasn’t the major determining factor for my win. We did a lot of work. We worked for it. The truth is that we had a convincing message.”
The MP aspirant, who has since met flagbearer Nana Addo and his running Mahamudu Bawumia in their Accra office to be congratulated, made the admission on Monday to Fiifi Banson on Anopa Kasapa on Kasapa FM.
But the ex-NPP General Secretary, questioned her marketability and took her and others to the cleaners, alleging the delegates who voted for her were largely influenced with money and said he was disappointed in the people of Kwabre.
He decried the monetary inducement, and told Fiifi Banson that, her situation does very little to help her campaign, adding the young lady was a novice who would need help in appealing to the larger voting populace.
“This is a 22-year old level 200 student who is yet to complete school and also do her National Service. So you take this 22-year-old on a campaign tour and say you are going to pay the chiefs a courtesy call, and you are asked where is the MP, and you tell them there she is.
“It is sad. She will go to parliament and then would virtually become a white elephant. Nothing good will come out of her.
“I am disappointed in the people of Kwabre. So we are going to sit down for another four years without nothing good happening to us… Look at our roads… Some of the decisions the delegates made were influenced by monetary consideration.”
“We will have to train her. She is a novice. We will have to help her even in terms of taking her round to the chiefs and opinion leaders and all that.”
He decried what he says was the high level of ‘monecracy’ exhibited by the party’s delegates and parliamentary aspirants in last weekend’s primaries. He added that where these machinations affected the incumbent, the situation, will be a major hurdle in an attempt to reconcile the core party base ahead of the election.
He said that he was privy to situations at certain centres, where people were influenced to vote in a certain direction.
“Delegates were given monies to the tune of GH¢700 to vote for their preferred candidates,” he revealed and urged the party’s leaders to get this situation checked as they begin to launch a campaign for a Nana Addo victory in 2016.
Dr Richard Amoako Baah, has said Ms Oteng-Mensah is “too young” and inexperienced”.
According to the NPP sympathizer, it would have been a different scenario, if she had graduated from school, but as a second-year student, she brings nothing to the table.
Dr. Amoako Baah, was also not impressed by the fact that Ms Oteng-Mensah’s campaign was financed by her father, a rich businessman, he made these comments when he spoke to Accra-based Radio Gold.
“The father is not the one who is being elected,” he said. In an earlier interview with Accra-based Starr FM, Amoako Baah, said the NPP should not have allowed Oteng-Mensah to stand for the elections.
“Look, there is nothing wrong with parents pushing their children ahead. Nothing wrong with it. But sometimes if you do it quickly and you are not careful it would mess them up.
“This one is not good. I’m telling you it’s not good. Young people should come in, she is too young and not experience, and no money of her own. Her parents are sponsoring her. Is that how it’s supposed to be?” he asked. The political scientist went on to call for a law against vote-buying in Ghanaian politics.
Meanwhile, Sammy Awuku, the NPP National Youth Organizer, has expressed worry at the increasing attacks on the newly elected young Parliamentary Candidates of the party, especially the 22-year- old Francisca Oteng Mensah and 26-year-old Mavis Nkansah Boadu of the Kwabre East and Afigya Sekyere East Constituencies, respectively.
Mr. Awuku in a rebuttal, described the attacks on the two as unacceptable and unwarranted.
“First of all they campaigned, they strategized and they won. You need courage to do two things in politics; courage to win and even courage to accept defeat.”
“Six students between the ages of 19 and 21 are in the Canadian Parliament. All over the world, the dynamics are changing and if you have a country where you are asking the young people to get involved in the decision making process so you can entrust the future of a country by asking the young person to vote for a leader but you don’t want to entrust the leadership of a country in the hands of a young person then there is a problem there,” Mr. Awuku explained on Point Blank section of Eyewitness News.
The Youth Organizer said : “I was impressed and proud of the conduct of the party in the elections…NPP is a big party, out of over 200 constituencies, if there is trouble in only a few of them that’s fine”
He further challenged persons speculating that there was vote-buying during the polls to substantiate their claims.
“If people believe there was vote-buying, they should report to the party for investigations to begin.
“When I hear some of these allegations I get worried. But then again I don’t. The party’s systems are clear …Some of the allegations of vote-buying in the NPP Primaries are just hearsay,” Awuku added.
Mr. Awuku, also hailed the defeated aspirants for mastering courage to contest in the polls and subsequently accepting defeat.
“Those who lost in the NPP Primaries are my heroes, because they have courage to accept defeat for the party.” He also called on the rank and file of the party to help groom the new aspirants.
“The big names who fell, were also small names once. Let’s help and groom the new aspirants as well,” he concluded.