The race for the 2024 Parliamentary seat in the Bantama constituency of the Ashanti Region, has been reduced to a fierce fight between President Nana Akufo-Addo and Kennedy Agyapong, the Member of Parliament (MP) for the Assin Central in the Central Region.
Ralph Agyapong, a lawyer and the brother of Kennedy Agyapong, is given the President’s darling boy, Francis Asenso Boakye hell, forcing him to rush to the constituency, asking the New Patriotic Party (NPP) delegates in the Bantama constituency to retain him.
According to the President, looking at the level of commitment and competence shown by Mr Asenso Boakye when he served as Deputy Chief of Staff and also currently the Minister for Works and Housing, it will hurt him, if the MP is not retained.
“It will hurt me so much if the people of Bantama throw him away. Give him the opportunity to represent you again and he will come and continue the good job he has been doing”, the President urged while commissioning the “Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo Community Library & Technology Hub” at Bantama, on Wednesday, November 15, 2023.
Mr Asenso Boakye, is reported to be hot as he risks suffering the one-term “curse” in the Bantama Constituency since at least 2012.
The Bantama Constituency is one of the safest NPP seats in the country with a huge voter population, but no MP has been re-elected for two terms in the Constituency since Cecilia Abena Dapaah, left the scene after winning in 2008.
The President during in his speech, also praised Mr Asenso Boakye, for his contribution at the Jubilee House as Deputy Chief of Staff, stating that some workers at the Jubilee House still mention the name of the MP as a hardworking man.
Commenting on the project which had been named after him, the President appreciated the effort of the Minister.
According to the president, ever since the MP left his role as the Deputy Chief of Staff at the Presidency, he’s been sorely missed by everyone at the presidential office.
He further explained that the absence of the current Minister of Works and Housing, is deeply felt because of the way he handled his job and the staff.
“He does everything appropriately. He will always bring you good news whenever I send him to do something on my behalf. He became the Deputy Chief of Staff at the Jubilee House and till date, people still call his name and praise him for his hard work,” Akufo-Addo said.
Henry Kwabena Kokofu, had taken over from Cecilia Abena Dapaah as MP for Bantama from January 7, 2013, to January 6, 2017, and was trying to go for a second term, but Okyem Aboagye defeated him in the party Primaries.
Okyem Aboagye was MP for Bantama from January 7, 2017, to January 6, 2021.
His attempt at a second term in office, was also not successful as Asenso Boakye beat him at the NPP primary ahead of the 2020 election.
Okyem Aboagye, who was interested in contesting the seat ahead of the 2024 election passed on two months ago.
Okyem Aboagye, who was a businessman after spending one term in Parliament became a spokesperson for the NPP on economic issues.
Ralph Agyapong, a lawyer and the brother of Kennedy Agyapong, the MP for Assin Central, has declared his intention to contest in the parliamentary primaries for the NPP in the Bantama constituency.
In an interview with Hello FM on November 9, 2023, Ralph Agyapong, disclosed that the grassroots support for his candidacy became evident as people began circulating his campaign posters on social media platforms.
According to him, upon realizing this public endorsement, he reached out to his brother, Kennedy Agyapong, for guidance. He explained that Kennedy gave his blessing to him to contest and secure victory.
“The way and manner people have been calling me to contest the seat, if I ignore such calls, I might disgrace myself… so when I saw my posters moving around, I called Hon Ken and he told me to go and contest and win the seat for Bantama constituency.
“I’m always at the Bantama constituency, and according to the constituents they are not happy with the way and manner the MP is managing the place, so, I have to come and take charge…if Bantama constituents are listening to me I want to let them know that I have accepted their calls and I will contest the seat,” he said.
But the MP for Bantama, he understands the importance of education and that pushed him to embark on this journey of erecting a library in Bantama.
“Having been raised by a single parent; my mother (after the sudden demise of my Dad) who was engaged in petty trading in Bantama, I have witnessed first-hand the transformative power of education in alleviating poverty and suffering for individuals, families, and communities,” he wrote on his Facebook page.
He further shared that President Akufo-Addo’s name on the library is an acknowledgement of his resilience and legacy.
“Deeply appreciative of President Akufo-Addo’s effort; the facility bears his name, symbolising the impact of knowledge, serving as a focal point for learning, and standing as a testament to his legacy as a generational leader. It also honours his exceptional contributions to education in Ghana, highlighted by the free SHS programme that eases the financial burdens on parents and expands access to education,” he added.
About 400 delegates who lost their voting rights during the compilation process have pointed accusing fingers at Asenso Boakye with the support of some regional executives of the party in the Ashanti region to protect some Members of Parliament in the party’s parliamentary primaries.
One will think after the alleged removal of about 400 delegates from the Album the incumbent Member of Parliament was in full clutches of the delegates in the constituency.
However, the outcome of the NPP’s Presidential primary results proved the MP who promised to give the then-candidate President Dr Bawumia about 80% failed in the agenda.
In the Bantama constituency, Kennedy Agyapong managed 404 votes against Bawumia’s 442 votes, meaning the Agyapong influence in the constituency is strong.
The question many are asking in Kumasi is “Can Francis Asenso Boakye break the Bantama constituency track record of Changing members of parliament every 4 years ?’’ certainly time will tell remains the silent answer.