THE National Democratic Congress (NDC) Member of Parliament (MP) for Agona East Constituency in the Central Region, Queenstar Pokua Sawyerr, has sparked a social media debate about cash bribe to voters after displaying wads of cash meant to be shared by her constituents at a party function in her constituency.
In a video gone viral, the MP who was Central Regional Minister under the Mahama NDC administration, was filmed trying to woo her party people and influence the voting choices of her constituents as she counted bundles of Ghana Cedis in public, which people interpreted as “inducements”.
She was seen picking up the money from a box being carried by a man and with a crowd gathered, saying, “This one is 100 million, another 100 million and another 100 million which brings the total to 300 million. This is 50 million, another 50 and the rest is 100 million, and the grand total is 500 million.”
“When they say anything on the contrary, tell them that I came here to show you the money. I want the leaders to do the distribution themselves. We won’t allow one person to keep the money in his or her home. Each of the leadership will receive his share of the money and proceed to decide between Thursday and Sunday when he will like to share it among the people. I thank you all.”
Cash bribes to voters are widely thought to influence the voting choices of the poorest and most vulnerable voters.
Trying to buy votes with cash and other gifts in the run up to elections is becoming rampant in Ghana, and some analysts have attributed the development to the fiercely competitive nature of Ghanaian politics.
The MP was one of the only four NDC candidates to win seats for the party in 2016 after an NPP tsunami swept the incumbent NDC in the Central Region.
Queenstar, as she is popularly called, is contesting with Prof. Kwesi Yankah, Minister of State in charge of Tertiary Education, and pundits have said if the NPP steps up its campaign in Agona East, the seat will be taken from the NDC.