Political observers have been struck by a strange – or perhaps smart – campaign strategy that has left many in wonderland over the parliamentary choice for Nadowli-Kaleo Constituency in the Upper West Region for Wednesday’s general election.
Campaign paraphernalia advertising the faces of President John Mahama of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) and the People’s National Convention’s (PNCs) Bernard Mornah have been disowned by both parties.
Flyers and stickers that marry the pictures of President Mahama and Mr Mornah are accompanied by other materials that bear only the picture of Mr Mornah.
The Nadowli-Kaleo seat has been held by the NDC’s majority leader, Mr Alban Bagbin, for the past 24 years, but interest in the seat has grown lately, with the PNC National Chairman, Mr Mornah, being the latest to join the fray.
Until now, Mr Mornah’s campaign looked well behind the grounded roots of Mr Bagbin, whose political wittiness was demonstrated at his campaign launch in October when he assembled the key characters, including potential dissidents from his camp.
In 2012, he won the seat by 3,900 votes difference against his closest opponent, Dr Boye Bandie of the NPP, even though President Mahama had more than 12,000 votes of the NPP’s Nana Addo Dankwa Akuffo-Addo ballots.
Dr Boye Bandie, who was re-elected the party’s candidate for the constituency parliamentary race, has since stepped down on health grounds for 27-year-old Elvis Botah.
However, Mr Mornah’s entry increased the excitement around the Nadowli-Kaleo seat, with observers believing that he could at best scuttle Mr Bagbin’s chances by drawing on his votes rather than cause an upset himself.
The emergence of those party campaign materials has been interpreted in some quarters as a scheme from within the NDC family to undo Mr Bagbin for a supposed fallout with the presidency of John Mahama during his early days at the Flagstaff House.
The NDC’s Regional Director of elections, Mr Saani Mohammed, however, told the Daily Graphic that the party had no hand in those materials in town, although they were aware of them.
He said the party remained solidly behind Mr Bagbin whom he described as “an experienced politician with a wealth of knowledge”.
“How can you replace somebody with the kind of experience of Mr Bagbin? His leadership in Parliament has been important to the party over the years,” he stated.