Calls are on the rise for the National Democratic Congress (NDC) to change its ‘borrowed’ parliamentary candidate in the Effutu Constituency to a more formidable choice else suffer its worst humiliation if it goes to the polls with James Kofi Annan, as its candidate.
The calls for a replacement of James Annan has been on the lips of the party faithful since he switched camp from an Independent candidate contesting against the NDC and became the NDC’s new candidate, but over the weekend, the glaring need for his replacement became glaring and a household topic in almost every home.
This was after an estimated 30,000 strong crowd poured on the streets of Effutu Constituency in the Central Region on Saturday morning when the Member of Parliament for the area, Alex Afenyo-Markin embarked on what was ordinarily planned to be a casual health walk to promote the culture of body exercise and healthy lifestyles.
The scenes on the streets of Effutu on Saturday were comparable to that of a national rally where people from all corners of the country gather to identify with a party. However, this crowd was not organized and bussed; they poured out from their homes within the constituency and joined the incumbent MP and his team from Saturday dawn until noon.
They were in an ecstatic frenzy mood and intermittently seemed as if they had been possessed by some supernatural sprits which fortified them against getting tired as they danced, sang their party songs, clapped in unison, and jogged in a choreography along the principal streets of the constituency for about five hours nonstop.
Alex, who had tied around his head a scarf branded in New Patriotic Party (NPP) colors, was himself caught in the euphoria as he was seen dancing with several ballad groups within the crowd.
It was a festive street jamboree that amplified the vitality, visibility, and sense of belonging within the NPP faithful in the Effutu Constituency.
“When you vote for me, Alex Kwamena Afenyo-Markin, please also vote for my President, Nana Akufo-Addo. It is a father and son and you cannot say you love me but you do not love my father. I am here with you so you see me more and I walk into your homes. Nana Addo cannot do that because he is not here in Effutu with us. But I am his candidate here and I can assure you that he is the best person to vote for to continue his works at the presidency”, Afenyo-Markin took advantage of the crowd to sell his party’s Presidential candidate.
When the crowd got to the fishing community within the constituency, the fisher folks abandoned their nets and joined the health walk.
This is understandable because a good number of families involved in the fishing business have been assured by Alex, a top-notch lawyer that he would support a class action lawsuit being filed by a group of fishermen in Effutu against a local based NGO that has accused them of being wicked fathers who sell their children into slavery.
He recently spoke over the issue: “Too many of such complaints have reached my office and it is sad that some Effutu fishermen have been jailed and some more risk the danger of being jailed over allegations that they have sold their children into slavery.
“This is being sponsored by someone who does not understand the way and culture of these fishermen. I am a lawyer so I know everything about child rights. I am also serving under a government that understands the importance of education and the free SHS policy is key evidence.
“But I have also taken my time to put emotions aside and study the situation very carefully to come to the conclusion that the fishermen in Effutu are not slave masters. There is this culture and it is part of history that fishermen would pick one or two of their children and send them to go stay with another family in faraway places for a while. That cannot be the same as selling the children into slavery.
"There are still ripples of that cultural practice and if we feel it is wrong, there is a better and sensible way of addressing that challenge rather than accusing them of being child slave masters and when they are unable to get the best of legal representation, they land in jail, leaving behind their wives, children and other dependents to suffer. This wrong must stop. It benefits no one in Effutu except the NGO who packages such stuff to show to foreign people to raise funding. You cannot take advantage of the people, exaggerate their issues, dramatize it and ride on them to raise your funds while they languish in jail”, Afenyo-Markin explained.