Jostling among contestants for the Sissala East seat has become tighter than the previous elections as all have an equal chance of being elected according to views sampled from four towns in the Sissala East constituency.
Four of the most populated communities of Tumu, Welembelle, Challu and Sakai have all been visited the most by all the aspirants as whoever wins two of these areas convincingly with good wins around the constituency stand the chance of being elected but the margin will likely be small.
This is viewed from the fact that four of these electoral areas with the polling stations have a combined total of almost half of the total of the electoral roll of 41,142.
Mr. Amidu Chinnia Issahaku of the NPP who doubles as the deputy Upper West Regional Minister who edged out current Member of Parliament in the delayed 20th June 2020 NPP primaries, Mr. Ridwan Abass who won the seat for the NPP for the first time since 1992, himself, has not been seen much with the candidate excerpt few times.
Mr Chinnia therefore now has the arduous task of maintaining the seat as a loss will spell doom for his rising political career and this has enhanced and energized his campaigns.
He comes as a politician who is a well-known grassroots person and contesting for the second time is also campaigning on the key policies of his party’s ranging from Planting for food and jobs which has been highly subscribed by the Sissala East according to the Minister of Food and Agriculture, Mr. Akoto during a visit to Tumu last year; PERD, Free Senior High School and Job opportunities offered the youth in the public sector is largely dedicated to him.
His challenges come from his own party where persons with divergent views don’t see eye to eye, with him some vowing to campaign skirt and blouse apparently over an allegation of his personal involvement in the act in the past, a charge his campaign manager Mr. Benin Sulemana discounts as mere propaganda and has asked the public to entrust him with the mandate to do more.
He would need to win two convincingly of the four communities that may determine the eventual winner; Tumu, Welembelle, Sakai and Challu.
Mr Issah Mohammed Bataglia is the NDC candidate who once served as the Special Assistant to the 2008 Member of Parliament, Hajia Rafatu Dubie Alhassan and worked in late Professor’s Mills office as a Liaison Officer.
Now working with an NGO, Virtue International Foundation his boss arranged where he currently works as the Country Director has made him increase health logistics to almost every nook and cranny of the Sissala East Constituency and this has made Bataglia a household name in most communities where he commandeers large youth following of mostly the youth in the party.
Out of his work, an annual exchange visits of highly qualified medical personnel from abroad come in to offer medical and surgical services to the Sissala East population.
His strengths also include the extension of financial services to notable groups and businesses through SAS capital he founded as well as his oratory skills and support towards the youth development in the constituency.
He faces opposition from within his own party as some party members would prefer another candidate to him and one wonders why the party hierarchy has not been able to deal with the perceived internal wrangling’s and post primaries concern’s sparking potential skirt and blouse looming, but will that affect his fortunes?
Coming from the same community of Bugubelle with the NPP candidate, it’s difficult to tell where the clan ‘Gelibaga” will lean-to, but, he would need to win two of the most populated four battlegrounds to be elected MP and would his maternal uncles, the Kassena in Sissala East all vote for him? His advocates see him as the new game-changer in the current Sissala political paradigm, if he gets elected.
Mr Kingsley Kanton of the PNC started campaigning immediately after he lost the 2016 election after emerging second to the elected MP with a difference of 796 votes and has been seen to be virtually living and staying in the communities canvassing for votes ever since.
Known for having introduced the Village saving and loans among women in the Sissala East constituency through his NGO he founded Save-Ghana has made his acceptance very easier in the communities. His styles of campaigning is as though it his last chance. He has donated several books through his partnership with others abroad and promised to deliver on mobile reading libraries if elected. The current PNC national chairman Mr Moses Dani Baah who won the seat for two terms is backing him to be elected after accusing the two major political parties of always indulging in an internal fight at the expense of the development of the constituency as witnessed during his tenure.
Ahead of the 2020 elections, a leading member of the party broke away from it to join the governing NPP with others, meaning he would need to deal with dissatisfied party members some of whom have remained quiet in the period, unlike in 2016, many watchers alleged he benefitted from support from both NPP and NDC disgruntled supporters, where will skirt and blouse voters go this time round? Mr Jaasu Abdul-Barri who is the candidate of the GCPP whose presidential candidate visited Tumu a few days ago appears to many as a more practical person when it comes to dealing with the problems of the constituency.
He promised in the recently organized debate by the Sissala Union to take up sports and educational issues for the attention of stakeholders.
The most prominent issues voters mentioned are their quest to see good roads, good fertilizer, jobs and increasing social support to cover all.
This year’s election also saw increased visits to the communities by all the aspirants and the use of both traditional media and the social media whilst each took turns to address what it felt was propaganda against it.
Skirt and blouse are not new to Sissala East tracing to 2004, Mr Moses Dani Baah of the PNC won the parliamentary seat whilst former President J. A Kufuor won the Presidential in the Constituency whilst in 2008 election, another skirt and blouse voting was observed where the NPP won the Presidential race and the NDC won the parliamentary slot in the Sissala East Constituency.
Some party members avoiding to vote for their elected party parliamentary candidate were also seen in 2008, 2012, 2016 but appears to be growing within all the political parties in Sissala East.
The Sissala East has a voter population of 41,142 with 21 electoral areas and 96 polling stations. The electoral commission returning officer Mr Mohammed Lulua in Tumu says “all is ready as materials are being dispatched to the communities and asked all to abide all Covid -19 protocols and spelt out ‘Dos and Don’ts’ in an interview with the RadfordFM.