Tension is brewing among the leadership of the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) in the Essikado-Ketan Constituency, as the party’s foot soldiers have been ruffled by their internal intelligence that some big wigs in the party are scheming to sabotage Dr Grace Ayensu Danquah’s bid to represent the party again as the parliamentary candidate in the 2024 election.
The angry foot soldiers, who have vowed to resist the move, say if the “faceless” heavyweights succeed with their grand plot against Dr Ayensu Danquah, then the gains made by the NDC in what has, traditionally, been a stronghold of the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP), would be eroded.
Dr Ayensu Danquah led the NDC into the 2020 polls as the parliamentary candidate for the Essikado-Ketan Constituency and was able to poll so many votes compared to previous elections to the extent that the NDC could even claim it won that constituency.
The court, however, affirmed the results declared by the Electoral Commission to the effect that Mr Joe Ghartey, the incumbent who got retained, for the umpteenth time, polled 26,701 representing 51.5% of the votes cast while Dr Ayensu Danquah, who challenged the results in court, polled 24,527 votes or 47.3%.
This represented a vast improvement from the past.
The 2020 poll result was the closest the NDC had come to winning the seat from Mr Ghartey, who served as a Cabinet minister in both the Kufuor and Akufo-Addo administrations.
In the 2004 polls, for instance, Mr Ghartey won over 71.4% of votes cast after polling 24,078 compared to the NDC’s candidate at the time, Mr David Mensah’s 8,976 votes (26.6%).
Mr Ghartey has been the MP for the constituency, located within the Sekondi-Takoradi Metropolis, for the past two decades earning him the moniker ‘Essikado-Ketan Mugabe’.
The constituents say despite his clout in the two administrations, Mr Ghartey failed to lobby the powers that be to develop the constituency.
Supporters of the NDC in the constituency are, therefore, insisting Dr Ayensu Danquah be encouraged to have another go at the polls since they believe her stellar performance in the last election is a sign that she is the party’s best bet to snatch the seat from the NPP.
They contend that “Se Grace Anka anky3”; to wit ‘Had it been Grace from the outset, it wouldn’t take the NDC this long to have won the seat’.
The foot soldiers have, thus, warned that any plot being hatched by heavyweights within the constituency and the region to thwart Dr Ayensu Danquah’s return as the parliamentary candidate ahead of the 2024 elections, would be resisted.
The suspicion of the foot soldiers was triggered by some disagreements that cropped up during the recent constituency elections of the party coupled with what they suspect to be hidden interests of some party stalwarts in the Central Region.
The disagreement was in relation to the voter register, which had no pictures of the delegates.
The foot soldiers saw it as a subtle move to retain the incumbent executives for the constituency in the recently-held internal polls.
They claim that even though some imposters were arrested, they were freed upon the intervention of some party executives. Paa Kow, one of the angry constituents, said during the 2020 polls, the “energy that fueled Dr Ayensu Danquah’s campaign attracted floating voters and disappointed NPP members”, noting: “Groups like ‘Friends of Dr Grace and Dr Grace Ladies’ have vowed their loyalty to Dr Danquah and we remain loyal to her. None will stop their wish”. “She became a household name and no wonder the youth of Essikado nicknamed her ‘Grace Wale’ after dancehall artiste Shatta Wale’s ‘Shatta Movement’.
Another foot soldier told our reporter: “This was not achieved on a silver platter but due to the campaign strategy put in place by the parliamentary candidate and executed by the regional, constituency and branch executives and the result is there for everyone to judge”.
The foot soldiers say their sources within the party have informed them that, as the parliamentary primaries approach, all efforts are being employed by some stalwarts to ensure that Dr Ayensu Danquah loses the race.
The angry foot soldiers say if the schemers succeed with their plot against Dr Ayensu Danquah, they would impress upon her to go independent. “Why would the party want to change a candidate like Dr Grace Ayensu Danquah?” one footsoldier asked, wondering: “Who are those behind these plans to take off Dr Grace? What are their reasons? Do they have any hidden agenda and interest if Dr Grace goes independent?”
He said to restore calm in the constituency, the national and regional executives of the party must “quickly investigate the development and resolve it ASAP or forget about the dream of winning the Essikado-Ketan seat”.