Saturday, July 02, 2016

Election 2016: Know Ghana's Women Parliamentary Candidates 
Ghana Daily Graphic

01 JULY 2016

Mrs Sally Amaki Darko Attopee

These are women who have resolved to serve their country by becoming law-makers in Parliament  and we want you, our dear readers,  to  become familiar with  all of them  through weekly features.

We hope the information we put out about them would, in some way, help voters make up their minds about the people they want to represent them in Parliament.

Mrs Sally Amaki Darko Attopee; NDC Parliamentary Candidate, Ablekuma North Constituency,Greater Accra

The Ablekuma North Constituency can be described as one of the strong holds of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) as aside the 1992 general election where Mr Adam Baako Nortey Yeboah won the parliamentary seat on the ticket of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), the NPP has won and retained the seat since 1996.

This pattern, however, does not deter Mrs Sally Amaki Darko Attopee, the NDC’s parliamentary candidate for this year’s election, since she believes the people are yearning for a change which she is more than prepared to work for.

Mrs Darko Attopee, popularly known as Amaki Tilapia,won the NDC primary in the constituency on her first attempt and she is sure of repeating the same phenomenon in the general elections.

She says although combining politics, career and family was not an easy task, especially for a first timer and also the changes in the  NDC electoral college, her party believed in her message and so hopefully, the constituents would do same come November 7, 2016.

Speaking with The Mirror, she said her decision to enter mainstream politics came from her desire to help and politics or being a Member of Parliament (MP) would give her a bigger platform to support people and affect change in her constituency.

“A lot of people assume politics is about making money or creating wealth for yourself but the fact is politics is about service to people irrespective of their social class or status. I am in this race because of my passion to serve people.”

She said the people in the constituency have bemoaned the nature in which the current MP who has served for two terms and his predecessor, also from the NPP, had neglected their concerns and needs.

Being an educationist, she said her focus would not be on just education but career centered counselling where students are well informed on what they can do based on their qualities and skills before leaving school, as well as developing the capabilities of the uneducated.

Mrs Darko Attopee said one of the main challenges in the constituency was poor sanitary conditions.

She said the people must be made to know that keeping one’s surroundings clean was a collective responsibility.

Another area of great concern to her is social security as she believes there will be a time when those who are active today would no longer be so it  was important to educate them on how to plan for the future.

She said the best way to reach her constituents was not through huge billboards and posters but a one on one campaign where she takes time to explain  her message to the people.

She expressed gratitude to the staff and  students of the Labone Senior High School where she has taught for the past 15 years for their continuous support and encouragement.

To her constituents, she said, “ I am the pride and hope of our constituency; the pride because although I do not come from an affluent home, I have worked hard, gone through the government system of schooling like any ordinary child and succeeded so I represent the ordinary citizen. I am also the hope because I represent the change they are looking for.”

Ms Hamida B Damba; CPP Parliamentary Candidate, Ashaiman Constituency, Greater Accra

In 2012, she contested on the ticket of the Convention People's Party (CPP) but failed to win the seat which was keenly contested by the New Patriotic Party (NPP) and the National Democratic Congress (NDC).

Ms Hamida B. Damba says that although the political terrain is dominated by these two parties, she has decided to contest again this year since she believes the people of Ashaiman are tired of the big political parties who only make promises.

She stated that she was working hard on her house-to-house campaign to spread her message and convince the constituents to give her a chance.

“It has not been an easy journey because a lot of people still have the mindset that the woman’s place is the kitchen so when a woman enters into politics, she is regarded as being deviant. The situation, however, has changed; when women are empowered, they are able to affect change better and so I will not relent on my efforts till the change we are looking for is achieved,” she pointed out.

Although there are a number of projects to undertake when elected, Ms Damba says her focus will be on agriculture as it is a key area which can yield a lot of positive results.

She mentioned the Ashaiman Irrigation Development Centre and said it would encourage more people in the constituency to venture into agriculture.

“Very little has been done with this system that can create jobs for the unemployed as well as provide food for people living in Ashaiman and beyond. Agriculture is such that once an area becomes popular for it, development soon follow,” she explained.

She said farming lands for the centre had been occupied by encroachers and no one seemed to be bothered about the situation.

She said the Ashaiman township had moved past the days when it was referred to as a notorious place, as more businesses have set up in the town.

“The image of the constituency has improved and this is evident in the number of banks that are opening branches here. With such development, we need better roads and other social amenities befitting the constituency,” she stated.

She indicated that should she get the nod, she would work with the police to improve on the security in the constituency so that both businesses and individuals would feel safe and comfortable at all times.

Ms Damba, a graduate from the University of Education, Winneba, said she was certain the people in her constituency would give her the chance to demonstrate what she could do.

She stated: “I have lived here for more than 20 years and I know and understand the challenges and difficulties they face. I believe I am in a better place to effect change. All I need now is their support and votes in the elections.”

Ms Josephine Ataa Oppong; CPP Parliamentary Candidate, Ablekuma Central, Greater Accra

Her motivation to enter politics was based on her desire to serve the people of her constituency and effect change.

Ms Josephine Ataa Oppong says her major challenge is that though people were ready to vote for her, they always complained that  the Convention Peoples Party (CPP) was not strong enough to win the presidential elections so there was no need to vote for its parliamentary candidates.

She said she was, however, working hard to change the mindset of such people, explaining that the CPP, led by its flag bearer, Mr  Ivor Kobina Greenstreet, is the only party that can offer Ghanaians the change and development they yearn for.

Already, she has started helping people in her own small way but believes winning the parliamentary seat would give her a bigger platform to help more people.

One of the major issues she would tackle when elected is finding solutions to the high rate of unemployment in the constituency.

Ms Oppong said the government alone cannot employ everyone so she would encourage and support individuals to start their own businesses no matter how small.

She lamented that till date, children in the constituency commuted to Dansoman, Mamprobi and its environs on a daily basis as the constituency did not have schools.

“How do we encourage these children at Sukula, Zamarima Line, Russia and other areas to go to school if there are no schools where they live. Without education, it is totally impossible to compete with other children in other areas.”she noted.

She said a constituency situated right at the centre of the capital cannot boast good roads, good drainage systems, properly demarcated areas but overwhelmed with filth.

Ms Oppong said health-related issues due to poor sanitation are the major problems in the vicinity because refuse and human excreta are dumped without bothering on the health implications.

“When you visit the constituency, buildings are situated anyhow as if there are no town planners in the city with floods becoming a norm with the slightest rain. There have been many media reports on the situation but nothing has changed,” she said.

The CPP parliamentary candidate said the biggest automobile spare parts trading centre was situated in the constituency yet the huge revenue generated there in the form of taxes, do not reflect the amenities in the community.

 When given the nod, she would work hand in hand with the residents and leaders in the community so people are advised on the need to take responsibility when it comes to keeping their environment clean.

“Both the New Patriotic Party (NPP) and the National Democratic Congress (NDC) have had their turn in this constituency and looking at the current situation, these two parties have not brought any change to the constituency.

“I believe the time is right for a change, the time is right for the CPP to demonstrate what it can do and this can only be made possible if the constituents give the party a chance in November,” she said.

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