Hundreds of angry supporters of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) in the Offinso South Constituency of the Ashanti Region are up in arms against the leadership of the party for preventing qualified members from contesting the sitting Member of Parliament (MP) for the area, Mr Ben Abdullah Banda, threatening to vote “skirt and blouse” if the decision is not reversed.
Mr Banda, a lawyer, and one of the people declared to run unopposed in the region is part of the party’s strategy to keep experienced and “important” legislatures in the house and make the party stronger.
But the supporters, mostly youth, clad in red and black outfits, and with the backing of their chiefs and other traditional leaders, poured onto the streets of Offinso creating heavy vehicular and human traffic in the main Kumasi-Northern region highway to protest the decision.
Amid the singing of war songs and issuance of verbal threats, the supporters fingered out the Ashanti Regional Chairman of the party, Mr Bernard Antwi Boasiako (Wontumi), as being behind the decision to shield incompetent MPs.
But the chairman has denied the allegation promising to speak on the matter at the right time.
The demonstrators, led by the Abofour Kontihene of Offinso, Nana Osei Darko, who rallied the youth of Abofour under the Offinso South Constituency, literally brought business activities on the highway to a standstill as they sang, danced and occasionally yelled at constituency party officials.
They carried placards some of which read: “Yabre wo Abdullah,” and “Abdullah enye wofie Akonnwa.”
Nana Darko, who said he was representing the chiefs, said the youth received the backing of the traditional leaders because “any disturbance could affect the entire district in terms of governance.”
“Party members of the constituency say they will not accept Mr Banda in the upcoming elections unless a new person is brought,” Nana Darko said.
“We’ve heard Mr Banda is pounding his chest for initiating some projects in the district, but I can boldly tell you that all is false. He has no better plan for the constituency and must step down now,” he said on behalf of the demonstrators.
A party member, Ms Akosua Twumwaa, promised the incumbent legislature a “no vote” if he insisted on standing.
She alleged that the constituency had retrogressed in terms of development since Mr Banda became the MP in the last 12 years.
“Since he became MP, youth unemployment and school drop outs have soared just as indiscipline and all kinds of social vices have increased”.