After the change of government in 2017, the residence of the West Gonja Municipal were embarrassed by certain political actors or person(s) with the 14th century Songhai empire mentality as they are driven by the domineering spirits of the Askia’s (usurpers) of the throne of the Songhai empire.
Lawyer Askia Abu Jinapor has plunged Damongo, the Savannah Regional Capital into a state of confusion, anarchy, chaos and misunderstanding with his escapade tendencies of introducing one of Ghana’s much envied and peaceful constituencies to the politics of monetization and inducement, an act frowned upon by the electoral laws of the State.
Realizing it would be unethical to compete in a contest with his elder brother the respected minority member on the finance and energy committee in parliament and member of parliament, for the Yapei-Kusawgu constituency where Lawyer Askia Abu Jinapor has been voting in all his adult life in the past decade and has been an active member of the New Patriotic Party in same constituency, now felt it convenient to abandon his primary electoral area in the central Gonja district in a very strange circumstances with the hope of finding a weak spot within the Savannah Region where he can lay claim or take solace through family ties to unleash his venomous ambition or aspirations on.
Albeit if it wasn’t for the existence of his elder brother John Abdulai Jinapor who is the incumbent member of parliament (MP) and the National Democratic Congress (NDC) candidate for the Yapei- Kusawgu constituency, he, lawyer Askia Abu Jinapor wouldn’t have been scavenging for the Damongo parliamentary seat to satisfy his parochial egos and selfish interest. Due to his over reliance on family ties, the majority of the NDC stalwarts in the Langbonto electoral area who have been the biggest beneficiaries when the NDC was in power then, have broken ranks with the party in order to support their close kinsman the lawyer whose mother hails from Langbonto against their party’s candidate Hon. Adam Mutawakilu Garlus.
Therefore, it is evidently accurate for one to suggest that, the young lawyer never thought of representing the people of Damongo in any capacity since there cannot be found any trace of him been an active member of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) in the Damongo constituency but only choose to do it out of convenience as he bulldozed his way through the rank and file of the constituency executives of his party in the constituency to have his way in to becoming the parliamentary candidate for the New Patriotic Party. Confronted by this unpopular decision taken by Askia Abu Jinapor, residents of Damongo in the west Gonja municipality are now left with no choice but to contend with his political strategy of mafiarism , vigilante militancy , monetization and inducement of unsuspected persons, while waiting patiently for December 7 to teach him a lesson, sending him and future persons like his character a strong message of their resolve, stating in clear terms their independent mindedness and people who can never be made a second choice citizens of Ghana in their own constituency.
One may argue that the culture of political monetization and inducement in Damongo did not start today, it may have been with us in various forms and reasonably at moderate levels, but, be it as it may, the situation has escalated astronomically and pushed to uncontrollable heights at the arrival of lawyer Askia Abu Jinapor.
Why would some people spend huge sums of monies in a dubious means to buy their way into political office instead of acquiring it through a fair and transparent manner with their integrity still intact? It should rather be on the grounds of competence and honesty but not the other way round.
There should be a paradigm shift on how political parties and politics in general is perceived in Damongo. Electing a parliamentarian to occupy the Damongo seat must be viewed as an intellectual activity that should foster understanding of issues rather than using the people as electoral machinery to achieve our dreams of becoming members of parliament on the face value. Parliamentary candidates of the various political parties in Damongo must possess the requisite amount of knowledge and intellectual understanding of the constituency while eschewing politics that seek to rely on the ignorance of the people.
Parliamentary candidates for the various political parties must know the history and applicable basic needs of the constituents in order to contribute positively to the socioeconomic development of the residence by changing the physical infrastructure in the municipality.
The unfortunate impact of the politics of monetization and inducement includes breeding acts of corruption in the public sector, denying the municipality of her best human resource by weakening the cultural fiber of self determination among the masses, simply because of over reliance on cramps, petty gifts and money from amateur politicians who shower on them these things, before, during and after elections.
In addition, the act of political monetization and inducement does not promote the culture of patriotism and eventually rob the constituents from getting the quality of leaders to represent them.
According to a research conducted by Westminster foundation, it would cost a member of parliament $86,000 (Ghs 481,600) to secure a party primary nomination to compete in parliamentary elections in Ghana. the research also discovered that, the cost of running for political office in Ghana went up by more than 55% (percent) over the electoral cycle and this has a dire consequence on the west Gonja municipal’s capacity to sustain her peace and promote an inclusive and resilient society poised for development since both the parliamentary candidates of the two major political parties in Ghana in the constituency would hide their incompetence behind the power of their money, gifts and other accessories like canoes, fertilizers, motorbikes etc to placate the good reasoning ability of the constituents to do proper analysis of the policies from the candidates.
It has been realized that some candidates who are seen as office seekers are driven by material self interest and are liable to be corrupt and not fit to be considered in the light of representing the people. Some of these unscrupulous political office seekers even go to the extent of making financial promises they know within themselves, they cannot fulfill, just to entice the electorate to vote for them. All these dubious practices do not augur well for transparency during elections when we all know that the work of a parliamentarian is to make laws.
Damongo constituency risks losing competent and skilled people in politics if this phenomenon of political monetization, inducement, tribalism and ethnic discrimination is not curbed for the total good of the people of the municipality irrespective of tribe and gender of the individual. These issues have lingered and finally is becoming a crisis eroding the healthy political climate the constituency has enjoyed over a very long period of time.
The arrival of lawyer Askia Abu Jinapor to contest for the Damongo seat as member of parliament (MP) on the ticket of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) was not only a poor choice, a bad omen for the residents but has drastically led to the decay in the political fiber among the youth ever since he covetously declared his intention to run for the office. His arrival has also heightened the political temperature in Damongo in the last three years. The coming of lawyer Askia Abu Jinapor to contest in Damongo has not brought peace, but political vigilantism, terrorizing innocent lives and attacking media persons and some assembly members in the municipal assembly. His arrival has not only torn families apart but has place a sword in the hands of a brother against another brother as it is demonstrated on our air waves.
This attracted a caution from the overlord of the Gonja state calling for sanity to prevail devoid of constant verbal abuses by some members of his party’s communication outfit over very little unprovoked political commentary from members of the opposition parties, making intolerance their hallmark.
In this year’s general election, all eligible voters must ensure that their votes represent their integrity, but not through the influence of monetary consideration and not allow themselves to be bought like animals to be used as sacrifice in other to satisfy other people’s egos. Any person(s) who would accept to cast his/her vote for monetary gains is equally selling his/her conscience.
This retards the growth and development of our communities, leaving a posterity to mistreat future generations for the mistakes we, their parents, brothers and sisters made when we had the opportunity to choose the right people to lead the constituency.
Elections in Damongo should not be allowed to become the monopoly of the highest bidder, but be based on the individual’s ability to motivate, influence and contribute greatly to improving upon the lives of the people he/she seek to lead. This person must be a problem solver in the long term such as getting a solution to solve the most essential which is the perennial water crisis in the municipality. One of the dire consequences of political usurpation, monetization and inducement in Damongo is that, it produces very poor leaders and reduces the standards and quality in leadership for, by and to the people and this explains why the development of the area has witnessed backwardness over the past decades after given birth to two great districts (Central and North Gonja districts).
We call on the commission of human rights and administrative justice (CHRAJ) within the municipality to investigate all allegations of vote buying and inducement in Damongo especially on the parliamentary candidate of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) lawyer Askia Abu Jinapor over such practices alongside the National Democratic Congress candidate and incumbent member of parliament Hon. Adam Mutawakil without any fear or favor by naming and shaming any of them found guilty and in breach of the electoral laws of Ghana.
The Savannah regional police command is hereby notified to deal drastically with all hoodlums and perpetrators of violence during and after elections, but this must be done without traces of biases on their part. One must reiterate that, lawyer Abu Jinapor whom I prefer to refer to as the Askia of our time attempts to usurp the Damongo parliamentary seat on the ticket of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) is unjustified , not only is it bizarre but arbitrary and capricious owning to the fact that he never in all his active political life even at the peak of his political career as the spokesperson for his Excellency Nana Akuffo Addo then in opposition, participated in any political activities as a member of the party in the Damongo constituency.
Permit me to say that if central Gonja was still part of the west Gonja municipal as it was the case in the past, nobody would have faulted or treated his intrusion into the political space of Damongo as ill-thought-out since he himself finds it immoral to contest against his own brother where he is popularly known as an active member of the New Patriotic Party in the Yapei-Kusawgu constituency.
Suffice it to say that, lawyer Askia Abu Jinapor’s capricious entry into the Damongo Constituency is disingenuous, indicating that, the members of the New Patriotic Party in the constituency have no men or women of high quality, capable of the job to represent their party in the upcoming elections as it is evident in their inability to contest lawyer Askia Abu Jinapor in their parties primaries conducted a year ago.
It is very disappointing that the coming of Askia Abu Jinapor succeeded in drying up the confidence and integrity of all the so-called vibrant individuals the party boosted of in the 2016 election.
Unfortunate as it may be, we should never allow our conscience to be influenced by money in the decisions we make today since it is no more a remorse that the New Patriotic Party’s big wigs within the constituency are been flattered with huge envelops from the lawyer’s fat purse in order to auction the position he occupies today as the parliamentary candidate for the New Patriotic Party in the Damongo constituency, this is nothing but political usurpation.
Just as a bone is given to silence a barking dog, the usurpian has succeeded in silencing all critical voices in the party turning them into veritable praise singers. As he deploys all sort of macavelian tactics to sideline all decent persons of the party who hear no evil and see no evil in the full glare of unsaturated evidence of uncultured political practices, the party within the constituency has adopted to brighten its chances in the upcoming elections. This only happens when a group of people sell their birth rights for a token of silver coins and a loaf of bread.
It is symbolical, following the electoral demographics and recent trends in the voting pattern of the residents of the Damongo constituency and data available suggest that the people of the west Gonja municipality are very independent-minded who understand and know they believe can lead them in the august house of parliament and being a lawyer by profession does not automatically mean that when elected as a law maker he/she can best represent the interest of the people of the constituency.
If persons like lawyer Askia Abu Jinapor is allowed to get away and finally succeed in usurping the Damongo parliamentary seat, it would serve as a bad precedence since anybody who happens to find him/herself in privileged positions in the society can just walk into the Damongo constituency or any part of the Savannah region to usurp and deprive the sons and daughters in those various constituencies who have toiled and worked very hard in nurturing their ambitions of one day representing their various political parties in parliament. The end results for such dichotomies and practices always turn to breed chaos, misunderstanding and confusion since such acts are synonymous to the steering up of a calm and peaceful waters.
This write up is a wake up call to the people of Damongo and its environs to treat the actions of lawyer Askia Abu Jinapor with all the disdain that he deserves by ensuring that on the day of the polls only identifiable residence are allowed to exercise their franchise in electing their own member of parliament to represent their aspirations and concerns in the parliament of Ghana. All the residence of Damongo should know that the parliamentary seat for the constituency is not for auction, neither is it for sale to be purchased by the highest bidder in terms of monetary value.
We appeal to all well meaning residents of the west Gonja municipality to give their mandate to the candidate who can unite and transform the area even if they are not rewarded with lofty appointments in government. The lawyer must be thought a bitter lesson by all discerning members of the Damongo constituency to demonstrate to the people of Ghana and the world that the culture of political monetization and inducement have no place in Damongo as such all monies given to residents for the purposes of influencing their decisions shall be accepted and treated like free money but vote on the day of the polls independently. This will show as a revolt against this new political culture of inducement and monetization introduced by the New Patriotic Party’s parliamentary candidate seeking to destroy the democracy the constituency has enjoyed in the past during the time of Hon Emmanuel .Adama. Mahama 1951 to 1966 from the (CPP), Hon. James Adam Mahama 1969 to 1971 from the (PP), Hon. Yakubu Saaka 1979 to 1981 from the (PNP), Hon. Eward Aliendong Alhassan 1993 to 1996 from the (NDC), Hon. Adam Mahama 1997 to 2000 from the (NDC) , Hon. Alex Seidu Sofo 2001 to 2008 from the (NPP), Hon. Sammy B. Wusah 2009 to 2012 from the (NDC) and Hon. Adam Mutawakilu from the NDC incumbent Member of Parliament the greater Damongo constituency.
Author: Mahama Ibrahim Watara
29th July, 2020