Why NDC lost Kumbungu seat

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Moses Yahaya, MP for KumbunguMoses Yahaya, MP for KumbunguThe Convention People’s Party’s (CPP) candidate in the just ended Kumbungu parliamentary by-elections, Amadu Moses Yahaya, caused  a political “tsunami” after fighting tooth and nail to snatch the seat from the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) that had dominated the constituency since the onset of the Fourth Republic in 1992.

The humble but hardworking 61-year-old development worker has worked with a number of NGOs, including a private medical centre at Bontanga, to provide livelihoods and improved health services for the people at the communities in the area.

His victory, however, did not only surprise most political pundits, but sent NDC faithfuls wondering amongst themselves and asking what really went wrong.

The NDC has held onto the Kumbungu seat for more than two decades now and so when the former Foreign Minister and MP for the area, Alhaji Mohammed Mumuni abdicated the seat, it was a widely held view that whoever succeeded him in the party’s primary would automatically be crowned in the by-election; but that was not to be on Tuesday, April 30.

Alhaji Mumuni had to vacate the seat following his nomination by ECOWAS to the position of Secretary General of the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States (ACP) to serve the unexpired term of Dr Mohammed Ibn Chambers who had been offered a new job by the United Nations.

Mr Amadu garnered a total of 13,039 votes from the 74 polling stations to knock-off challenge from the NDC hopeful, Alhaji Imoro Yakubu Kakpagu, who received 11,896 votes, to dash his hopes of returning to Parliament. The representative of the Progressive People’s Party (PPP), Ahmed Mansuru Mohammed, only received 228 votes.

This represented 51.80, 47.28 and 0.91 per cent respectively of the 25,153 valid votes cast from the 74 polling stations. The total voter population in the constituency is 39,478. The New Patriotic Party (NPP) boycotted the by-election for what they claimed was consistent with its decision not to participate in any election whilst the 2012 Presidential election dispute case was still pending.

Alhaji Imoro was the Member of Parliament for two terms, from 2004 to 2012, after taking over from Alhaji Mumuni who had earlier represented the people in Parliament from 1996 to 2004.

The defeated candidate, however, lost his bid for a comeback in a rancorous party primary in which the former Foreign Minister won to return to Parliament in the 2012 general elections.

This clearly demonstrated the loyalty of the people to the cause of the NDC over the years. The victory of the CPP candidate can, therefore, only be described as a miracle. 

Mr Amadu, in his victory speech, said “my victory is God sent and I am grateful for this wonderful opportunity to serve my people who have reposed such confidence in me.”

“Democracy has won the day; it is a victory for the entire constituency. I call on everybody, irrespective of your party affiliation, to join hands with us to develop this area,” he said. 

A CPP sympathiser Mariama Fuseini said their victory was as a result of hard work and sleepless nights during the campaigns leading to the election. 

According to her, while “the entire leadership of our party, including the 2012 flag bearer, Dr Abu Sakara, and our Chairperson, Madam Samia Nkrumah, had pitched camp here in Kumbungu and moving from community to community canvassing for votes, the NDC were complacent because they thought it was a safe seat for them.”

A National Vice Chairperson of the NDC, Alhaji Huudu Yahaya, was the only visible national executive member of the party present during the by-elections.

Even though some electorates have described the victory of the CPP candidate as a shock, others said they were not surprised since coming events cast their shadows.

An NDC party sympathiser Iddrisu Issah said, “we pretended there were no problems within the NDC when, in actual fact, there were gaping cracks.”

He alleged that, since the primaries to elect the former Foreign Minister, the party had been divided between the two leading candidates in the primaries. Alhaji Mumuni and Kakpagu.

Iddrisu claimed that the division further deepened when Dr Jacob Mahama contested Alhaji Kapkagu and lost in the primaries leading to the by-elections. As a result of the existing misunderstanding, some chiefs and opinion leaders in the constituency fell-out of favour with Alhaji Kakpagu.

Coupled with this was the attitude of the Northern Regional NDC executives, who some members have blamed for lacking the needed leadership qualities to champion the cause of the party.

“Our party leadership in the region does not have the organisational capacity and the necessary commitment to lead; we won in the region not because of their hard work, but because of the goodwill the NDC enjoys here. But if care is not taken, we would lose this favour in the coming polls,” Mohammed Habib added his voice. 

When contacted for his comment, the northern regional secretary of the party denied the allegations, saying, “How can you blame the regional executive for the defeat of our candidate when we did our best to campaign for him to win?”

He, however, admitted that, “we took things for granted even though we tried to resolve the internal wrangling within the party in the constituency since the 2012 party primaries.”


Story: Zakaria Alhassan


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