Actor-turned-politician John Dumelo’s dream to represent the National Democratic Congress (NDC) in Parliament in the next four years has been crushed after losing to incumbent Member of Parliament Lydia Alhassan of the New Patriotic Party.
Certified results from the Electoral Commission show the NDC candidate poll 37,778 as against Lydia Alhassan’s 39,851. Gifty Botchway of the People’s National Congress (PNC) and independent candidate Richard Amegatse managed 160 and 108 votes respectively.
Total valid votes cast stood at 77,604 with 595 being invalid votes.
The Ayawaso West Wuogon has been one of the most interesting constituencies to watch in this year’s elections due to John Dumelo’s decision to contest. The moviemaker was sure of victory as he concluded that the incumbent had disappointed the electorate.
The contest was clad with controversy with Lydia Alhassan describing Dumelo as a personality whose level of thinking is shallow. She argued that it was irrational for Dumelo to have attempted to dredge gutters in the constituency without seeking permission from the Assembly.
“You don’t just get up and start doing things. If you are a deep thinker, you’ll realize that people just don’t get up and start dredging gutters,” she poked during a debate.
Infuriated by the comments, Dumelo demanded an apology. He said: “I don’t call this a debate because if you want to debate, you come on time. I came here at 8:30am, that was the time they gave me. You cannot come here at 10:45am and say you want to debate me, that is not how a Member of Parliament behaves and then you come here too to insult me… it is not right…and you must apologise.”
A few weeks after this altercation, another controversy hit his campaign. A remark by Shirley Ayorkor Botchway, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration that Dumelo is only riding on his popularity became a topical issue.
Madam Ayorkor Botchway on a political platform in the constituency last week mentioned that parliament “is for serious-minded people and not people who have done some movies and think they are popular.”
In her quest to canvass votes for the New Patriotic Party (NPP) parliamentary candidate, the minister asseverated that “It is a serious place; I will tell him; the laws of the country are enacted in parliament. If our President can continue his job very well, he needs Lydia Alhassan in Parliament to do the job so that all you need as a constituency will be easily given to you.”
Her comment has elicited reactions from some persons in the creative industry. They have argued that the statement is an affront to the arts, demanding a retraction and an unqualified apology from the government appointee.