A defeated NPP MP says he lost because he was not the highest bidder in the NPP primaries.
The Member of Parliament for Bosomtwe in the Ashanti region, Mr. Simon Osei-Mensah, has attributed his loss in the New Patriotic Party (NPP) primaries in the constituency to his inability to match the financial muscle of the eventual winner.
"The most important thing that led to my loss to the eventual winner is that he was the highest bidder. The whole thing turned in his favour about an hour to the elections. That is the trend now. That is the order of the day now. The highest bidder wins and I am not talking about my party alone. It happens in all political parties. That is the way our politics is going now," he told Graphic Online in an interview in Parliament.
Another reason why he lost, he said, was the fact that he had had three terms as an MP and, according to the delegates, it was wrong for him to contest again.
"They said I have been there for too long. My predecessor served for two terms and if I have served for three terms, I should not have contested again," he said.
Mr. Osei-Mensah, who is also a Deputy Speaker of the Economic Community of West African States ( ECOWAS ) Parliament, last Saturday, lost to Dr. Yaw Osei Adutwum, founder and Chief Executive of New Designs Charter Schools, an educational institution in California, USA.
Another issue raised by those he contested against, he said, was the fact that he was too attached to the ECOWAS Parliament and did not have time to address the problems of the constituency.
"I find that particular argument or point interesting. Constituents want their MPs to be given responsibilities yet when the MPs are given the responsibility, the same constituents complain," he said.
Mr. Osei-Mensah said one of the issues used against him was that the votes he garnered in the 2008 elections declined compared to 2004.
He explained that in 2004, the National Democratic Congress (NDC) candidate he contested against in the parliamentary election was not known and did not have much clout.
Therefore, he said, he garnered 82 per cent of the votes. In the 2008 elections, however, he contested against Dr. Joe Oteng-Adjei, a former Minister of Energy who had a lot of influence, was a "solid" candidate and had a lot of financial and material resources.
The votes he gained, he added, dropped to 69 per cent. "You cannot expect me contesting against Dr. Oteng-Adjei to get the same percentage of votes that I got in 2004 when I contested against someone who was neither popular, influential nor wealthy," he said.
Another subject matter, according to him, was that his constituents expected him to be a development agent.
He said anytime the people in the constituency approached him with issues with regard to development projects and he directed them to the district assembly, they got offended.
"Anytime you are approached and you ask them to go and see the DCE or MCE, they say it is you they voted for and not the DCE. Because the MP is able to do a few things with his District Assemblies Common Fund, they think you should be the development agent in the area.
And that is why I have always advocated for the Common Fund to be stopped. Because you can provide roofing sheets, put up a ward in a hospital or nurses quarters, they see you as a development agent and once they see you as a development agent, they want you to do everything," he said.
The Bosomtwe MP also attributed his loss to the spreading of falsehoods about him, adding that although he tried hard to dispel some of the false information, which were propagated about him, they stuck in the minds of the people.