It is left with barely three months to the general election which comes with an expectation that the campaign from political parties, especially the two main political parties, the New Patriotic Party (NPP) and the National Democratic Congress(NDC), would gather momentum for people to feel the fever that characterises every general election.
Probably, the election fever is not catching up much in the Volta Region compared to previous years due to the COVID-19 pandemic.That notwithstanding, both the NPP and the NDC are working hard on the ground to win the various constituencies in the region.
The Ho Central Constituency continues to be one of the highly populated constituencies in the Volta Region with more than 100, 000 voters and like many constituencies in the region,it remains a strong hold for the NDC as it had won all the parliamentary seats since 1992.
This year’s election may follow similar pattern of previous years with the NDC having a firm grip of the constituency.
However, what is normally of interest is whether or not the NPP can pull a surprise by increasing its votes to, at least 20 per cent of total vote cast.
Statistics from previous elections showed that the NPP candidates had always polled votes between eight and 10 per cent, while the NDC candidates polled not less than 88 per cent.
The NDC Parliamentary Candidate, Mr Benjamin Kpodo, who was contesting for the second time in 2016, however, lost significant votes of more than12,000 when he polled 47,330 votes representing 79.48 per cent compared to the 60,129 representing 88.51 per cent he garnered in 2012.
The NPP similarly lost over 700 votes in 2016 when Mr Ernest Gaewu, as candidate, polled 6,031 as compared to Dr Yao Archibald Letsa’s votes of 6,758 votes in 2012, representing 10.13 per cent and 9.95 per cent respectively.
The reduction in votes in 2016 was attributed to the level of apathy, especially against the NDC which described the Volta Region as its strong hold.
As the elections draw closer, few posters and billboards of the parliamentary candidates and party flags are seen at vantage points.
This year, the Chief Executive of the Ho Municipal Assembly, Mr Prosper Pi-Bansah is contesting as a parliamentary candidate on the ticket of the NPP.
Though an old hand in the NPP in the region, this is his first time to hit the political limelight as an MCE and parliamentary candidate.
Residents believe that as a native of Ahoe, a division of Ho, Mr Pi-Bansah stands the chance to increase his party’s votes in the Ho township but may not perform well outside of Ho which happens to be the strong areas of the incumbent , Mr Kpodo, a native of Tanyigbe-Anyigbe who is contesting for the third time.
With sentimental voting pattern which characterised elections in the Volta Region, the NPP parliamentary candidate would have a tough task as a new candidate and may not pull much surprise.
Views of residents
Residents who spoke to the Daily Graphic were not really enthused about the achievements of the NPP in the constituency, especially when the major concern of the youth in the constituency has been unemployment. Also, they claimed the regional capital was underdeveloped.
According to them, one major project which could open the capital up was the operationalisation of the Ho Airport which to them had been abandoned by the current government.
The NDC ‘s achievement in Ho, they claim, remains tall with the mentioning of developmental projects such as Ho aerodrome under construction, Ho market project, University of Health and Allied Sciences, schools, health facilities and asphalting of Ho road prior to the 2016 election.
A resident, Mr Delali Goka, said he had not felt much from the NPP in respect of development in the regional capital.
“Apart from national policies such as school feeding, planting for food and jobs, NABCO ongoing in every part of the country, not much development has come to Ho”.
He said the only project he saw in Ho was the Sokode-Ho dual carriage and even with that, he complained had unduly been delayed.For him, a factory or two could open up the area for development.
Dissenting views also argue that the current government had performed better, especially with its policies which have benefitted Ghanaians and if given more opportunity, would do more.
One of such residents, Mr Dziedzorm Yevu, said he was not looking at development only in Ho but what the government had done for the citizens which required Ghanaians given them four more years.
He ,however, conceded that it would be difficult for the NPP parliamentary candidate to win the seat but ‘I can say he may perform better than his predecessors’.
Targets of candidates
The NPP Ho Central Parliamentary Candidate, Mr Pi-Bansah says he will pull a surprise in the constituency with his 50,000 votes target as he woos his constituents with policies such as giving credit facility to market women to expand their businesses, capacity to traditional rulers to mobile resources for development of their communities, assistance to teachers and nurses in constituency to further their education.
Meanwhile, the NDC is increasing their target from 80,000 votes in 2016 to 90,000 votes this year with its “operation all the vote mantra”.
According to an executive member of the Ho Central Constituency, Mr Stanley Nelvis Glate, the target was achievable because the people have been disappointed as the government could not fulfil its promises, especially the $1 million per constituency and the one-district one-factory policy.
‘The people wanted a factory and had swayed towards the NPP and in the case of Ho Central, not coming out in their numbers to vote. But where are the factories? I can assure you that this election is ‘Sankofa’ and ,therefore,the NDC will achieve its target for the constituency’.
For the other parties in the constituency such as the Convention People’s Party (CPP), the Progressive People Party (PPP) and the National Democratic Party (NDP), they are for now only in to make up the numbers as not much is seen or heard of them in the constituency..#GhanaVotes2020#