The writing on the wall(s) was blatant and foreboding. At least in the weeks leading up to last weekend. From the uncompleted edifices, Hausa Koko vendor stands and abandoned billboards, two words were clearly imprinted. SOROGHO OUT! Occasionally they were accompanied with hashtags which never trended on the social media platforms. But there was a Facebook group created by some despondent youth who had lost all hope in this representative. Most of them led his campaign, mounted his platforms back in 2012 and even strained their relationships with friends for him. They had done a lot for him and felt disrespected, cheated and played by the man who has spent close to 12 years in parliament now.
Madina Zongo has been a stronghold of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) since the country went democratic and it continues to do so 20 odd years later. The largely Muslim community votes umbrella just like all the other Muslim dominated areas for reasons best known to kola nut chewers and reading glasses wearing old folks. My cousin, Sadiq, cracked my ribs when he explained this voting pattern by saying “in the Quran, a story is told of a king armed with elephants who tried breaking down the Ka’bah. Why do you think we (Muslims) will ever want to vote for a party which associates with the elephant?” But the more plausible explanation comes from old folks like my grand aunt who always engages me in a political conversation whenever I grab my breakfast Waakye from my cousin.
Story has it that the leader of the Progress Party, Dr Busia deported throngs of Muslims/Hausa speaking folks back in the late 60s to Nigeria. It was the post Nkrumah era and the deficits from years of heavy capital investments had just started rearing its ugly head. So the president of the day decided to ease pressure by deporting these folks. Ever since that day, the people of the Zongos have been skeptical of the Danquah tradition, of which the NPP evolved from. Well the dislike is not as deep as it used to be. There is a significant number of NPP sympathizers in the Zongos. But on the whole, the townships are painted in Red, Green and White.
And with that comes the safety of any politician who gets the nod to represent the party in the community. It is jokingly said that a stone representing the NDC will always get the nod ahead of a PhD holder from the NPP if the two stood for office in the community. So parliamentarians in the community have for so long been apathetic to the plight of their constituents. The cycle has been “get the nod to represent the NDC, win the parliamentary elections easily, vanish from the community for three years, reappear when it is time for the primaries to bribe a couple of the delegates, organize a mini soccer tournament, win the elections and repeat the cycle!” This is most likely the same situation in other areas where NPP candidates can easily win elections without even lifting a finger. THE BANE OF OUR DEMOCRACY!
But the just ended primary elections of the NDC had promised a twist. There had been a sense of resentment in the community and some change brewing. It had seemed like the incumbent was about to be kicked out and replaced. Little did we know that the structures of old was just beginning to entrench itself. The incumbent MP, Alhaji Amadou Sorogho won comfortably despite the writing on the wall. Did the endorsement guarantee him a return to parliament? Most likely. But the good thing is, he is facing a very stiff challenge from a former MP who himself had been kicked out of office after being too comfortable with the trust the people of a “pseudo Zongo” had reposed in him.
With Alhaji Siddique Boniface in the race, it promises to be the biggest challenge yet for Sorogho. Maybe this time he will appreciate the need to be more responsive to the plight of his constituents. Maybe he will realize that the tokenistic fire service slots he hands out to his yes men is not enough to retain him in office. Maybe he will start visiting with his constituents from the day he gets sworn in (should he win) and stop the blue moon like gracing of weddings and funerals during the last year of his tenure. Of course no one is asking for handouts from the man but with little constituency wide policies and programs to raise literacy rates or facilitate employment the youth, most of whom are resorting to cyber theft, there is enough reason to feel peeved.
So as it stands, we have been thrice bitten and still not shy. Maybe we are waiting for the fourth bite like the people of the Greater Zongo, Maamobi who after being taken for a joy ride for far too long kicked out the tall soft spoken medical doctor. A younger man who from all indications has had an organic experience and is in touch with the people beat all odds to win the nomination. The success of Yussif Jajah is testament to the potency of the thumb in bringing down apathetic leaders. I might be getting ahead of myself, but maybe who we need at Job 600 representing our interest is another Yusuf Jajah who really associates with “Zongoism”.