The Awutu-Senya West Constituency is one of the key battleground constituencies to watch in this year's presidential and parliamentary elections.  Located in the Awutu-Senya District of the Central Region, this semi-rural constituency has a voter population of about African Elections | Constituency Watch Series Episode 5: Awutu Senya West Constituency
Constituency Watch Series Episode 5: Awutu Senya West Constituency

The Awutu-Senya West Constituency is one of the key battleground constituencies to watch in this year's presidential and parliamentary elections.  Located in the Awutu-Senya District of the Central Region, this semi-rural constituency has a voter population of about 79,258 based on data from the 2020 elections.  

The main urban centres in the constituency include Bawjiase, Senya Beraku, and Awutu, the constituency capital. Some popular communities in the constituency include Okwabena, Adawukwa, Ofadjato, Obrachire, Kwaokurubi, Papaase, Oklu Nkwanta, Royal City, Akuful, Jei Krodua, Kawanopado, and Obodakaba. 

Since 1996, the constituency has seen fluctuating performances between the National Democratic Congress (NDC) and the New Patriotic Party (NPP).  

The current Member of Parliament (MP) is Gizella Tetteh-Agbotui of the NDC, who defeated George Andah of the NPP in the 2020 elections. Andah, who served as the Deputy Communications Minister between 2017 and 2021, had previously defeated Gizella's sister, Hannah Serwaa Tetteh, in the 2016 elections.

For the 2024 elections,  the NPP has elected Eugene Arhin, the Director of Communications at the presidency, as their parliamentary candidate. The NDC on the other hand has retained incumbent MP Gizella Tetteh-Agbotui as their parliamentary candidate. 

The contest between the two candidates promises to be highly competitive and closely watched, especially since Eugene Arhin has the full support of President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo. 

What has been the performance of both parties in the constituency?  What are the key issues voters will consider when making their decisions? This article explores and analyzes key issues that will determine the outcome of the election. 

Presidential Election Dynamics  

The Awutu Senya West Constituency has seen power shifts between the National Democratic Congress (NDC) and the New Patriotic Party (NPP) every eight years since 2000. 

The graph below vividly illustrates the presidential election performance of the NDC and NPP from 1996 to 2020.

Source of data: Electoral Commission (EC)

In 1996, under the leadership of Jerry John Rawlings (incumbent president), the NDC emerged victorious. Rawlings obtained 56.7% of the votes, defeating John Agyekum Kufour the then presidential candidate of the NDC, who garnered 41.6%. 

In 2000, John Agyekum Kufour led the party to its first victory in the Constituency, securing 47.6% of the votes against presidential candidate John Atta Mills of the NDC, who received 44.7%. This victory was not a one-off; Kufour (incumbent president) strengthened his hold in the Constituency in 2004, winning with an impressive 58%, while Mills' support declined to 40.5%. 

The pendulum swung back in favour of the NDC in 2008. John Atta Mills reclaimed the Constituency for the NDC with a narrow victory on his way to winning the presidency, obtaining 50% of the votes compared to Nana Akuffo Addo (presidential candidate of the NPP) who obtained 47.7%. The momentum continued in 2012 under John Mahama (incumbent president), who secured a slightly stronger position for the NDC with 51%, while the NPP's vote share dipped to 46.8%. 

The political seesaw tipped once again as Nana Akufo-Addo led the NPP to victory in 2016 contributing to winning the presidency. The NPP reclaimed the Constituency with 53% of the votes, leaving the NDC with 46.8%. In 2020, the competition remained fierce, but the NPP managed to hold onto their gains, albeit with a slimmer margin of 50.3% against the NDC’s 49.7%. 

Thus, over the seven presidential electoral cycles since 1996, the NDC has won the Awutu Senya West constituency three times (1996, 2008, and 2012), while the NPP has won it four times (2000, 2004, 2016, and 2020).

Parliamentary Elections Dynamics  

Parliamentary elections in the Awutu Senya West Constituency have equally been highly competitive, with the NDC winning five out of the seven elections held since 1996.

The graph below illustrates the performance of both the NDC and NPP in the Constituency from 1996 to 2020.

Source of data: Electoral Commission (EC)

In 1996, Babalami Abu-Sadat of the NDC won the seat in the Constituency with 50.7% of the votes, defeating Haruna Esseku of the NPP, who managed to get 29.2% of the votes. Hannah Tetteh of the NDC secured another win in 2000, with 52.3% of the vote, defeating John Kojo Ackah of the NPP, who secured 35.2%. 

In the 2004 elections however, Oppey Abbey won for the first time under the NPP ticket with 50.3%, compared to the NDC candidate Moses Arhinful Acquah, who secured 29%. The NPP could not retain the seat in the 2008 elections, as their candidate Oppey Abbey secured 45.1% and lost narrowly to the NDC candidate David Nana Larbie, who got 49.6% of the total votes. 

The NDC maintained the seat in the 2012 elections with its candidate Hannah Serwaa Tetteh, achieving a landslide victory with 55.5%, defeating Oppey Abbey of the NPP, who secured 44.5%. 

The New Patriotic Party (NPP) made a comeback in the 2016 elections, with George Andah winning against Hannah Tetteh with 52.7% of the votes.

The NPP could however not maintain the seat in the 2020 elections. Gizella Tetteh-Agbotui, a sister to Hannah Tetteh, defeated George Andah by securing 51.6% of the vote. 

Thus, in the seven electoral cycles since 1996, the NDC has won five times (1996, 2000, 2008, 2012, and 2020), while the NPP has won only twice (2004 and 2016). 

Who wins?  

Based on historical trends and dynamics, it is predicted that the NDC's Gizella Tetteh-Agbotui will likely retain her seat in the 2024 elections. This prediction can however be hampered owing to Eugene Arhin’s tremendous performance in the recent NPP parliamentary primaries, his close relationship with the incumbent president (incumbency advantage), the high probability for first-timer candidates to win in Awutu Senya West and his increasing investment in the Constituency.

Nevertheless, since 1996, the Constituency has consistently leaned towards the NDC, particularly in parliamentary elections, and this trend is likely to continue.

The current economic hardship is also likely to sway voters towards the opposition NDC.

Furthermore, the fact that the incumbent MP went unopposed in the NDC primaries suggests strong party support and a united front, which will likely give her an advantage over her NPP counterpart.

Although Eugene Arhin enjoys full support from the current President, the incumbent disadvantage and voter apathy that often accompanies a ruling party may make it difficult for NPP to win the Constituency.

However, speaking to JoyNews after his victory, the Director of Communications was optimistic that NPP will win back the Awutu Senya parliamentary seat.

"It was unfortunate that we lost the parliamentary seat in 2020 but i believe strongly that with this strong record and if we do our things well as a party and bring the base on board towards wrestling the seat from the NDC candidate, i believe it is something that is very doable," he said.

Conclusion   

In conclusion, the Awutu Senya West Constituency, with a history of fluctuating performance between the NDC and the NPP, would be a key battleground in the 2024 elections.  While the NPP has won the presidential elections in the Constituency four times since 1996, the NDC has maintained a lead in the  parliamentary elections, winning five out of seven elections.

The current MP, Gizella Tetteh-Agbotui of the NDC, is likely to retain her seat, on the back of historical trends, economic hardships, and strong support from her constituents.

The contest promises to be highly competitive, with Eugene Arhin of the NPP likely to give the incumbent a run for her money.