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K.T. Hammond: The last hope of the NPP

Source The Ghana Report

Love or hate him, staunch member of the governing NPP and the Adansi-Asokwa Member of Parliament (MP) Kobina Tahir Hammond, popularly known as K.T. Hammond, occupies a pivotal position in Ghana’s politics.

Considering his many years in Parliament, K.T. Hammond is a household name who cannot be exempted from Ghana’s historical democracy.

In 2021, at the beginning of the 8th Parliament of the Fourth Republic, The Ghana Report identified nine ‘Mugabes’, a term used for politicians who have served long terms in office.

Three MPs from the NPP, outnumbered by six from the NDC, served at least for the fifth term in Parliament.

However, two NPP legislators—MP for Suame Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu and MP for Bekwai Joe Wise—have hanged their boots, leaving only K.T. Hammond as the last ‘Mugabe’ heading into the 2024 December elections.

The term ‘Mugabe’ was coined from Robert Gabriel Mugabe, a politician who became Leader and President of Zimbabwe for 37 years. He served as Prime Minister of Zimbabwe from 1980 to 1987 and then as President from 1987 to 2017 before passing away in 2019 at age 95.

Mr Mugabe had strong ties to Ghana. He relocated from Zimbabwe to Ghana in 1958 to school.

After obtaining local certification at Achimota College, he went into teaching at St Mary’s Teacher Training College in Takoradi, where he met his first wife, Sally Hayfron.

 

At the time Ghanaians began to use his name to describe long-serving politicians, he was one of the longest-serving presidents on the African continent.

K.T. Hammond remains the biggest storage tank of institutional memory for the NPP in Parliament heading into the elections.

With a high attrition rate, he has become the de facto commander of the NPP parliamentarians.

No wonder the Speaker of Parliament Alban Sumana Kingsford Bagbin refers to him as the class prefect.

On the floor of Parliament, he is one of the few MPs who cannot escape the eye of the Speaker, and he reserves a special place in the Speaker’s daily dealings in the House.

K.T. Hammond entered Parliament in 2001 and has been the Member of Parliament for his constituency for six consecutive terms, spanning the 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, and 8th parliaments.

He might as well break the record for the longest-serving MP for consecutive terms if he wins again for the 9th Parliament.

To put it in context, he stepped foot in Parliament before any 23-year-old Gen Z was born.

Just as he has tried to be part of every Parliament, Mr Hammond has been instrumental in almost every NPP administration.

He served as Deputy Minister of Energy and the Interior in President Kufuor’s government and helped set the pace for commercial exploitation of Ghana’s oil.

He has been a thorn in the flesh of the NDC and the NPP’s go-to person on energy.

He was very loud on the $150 million power deal signed under former President John Dramani Mahama, which had to be renegotiated under President Nana Akufo-Addo. The same deal resulted in President Akufo-Addo’s dismissal of former Minister of Energy, Mr Boakye Agyarko.

K.T. Hammond is currently the Minister of Trade and Industry under President Akufo-Addo’s administration.

Hon K.T. is an interesting personality with a crossbreed of Legon and a London accent.

His eloquence on the floor of Parliament is refreshing and Shakespearean dramatic.

He delivers his speech with utmost passion, laced with a good sense of humour in Twi or English.

The outspoken Adansi-Asokwa legislator is considered one of the stalwarts of the NPP and can lobby to bring development to his area.

Although the Adansi-Asokwa seat appears safe for the NPP for about two decades, the vote margin in the parliamentary and general elections compared to the NDC has not been very wide.

For instance, in the 2012 elections, K.T. Hammond polled 15,796 votes, representing 51.06%, while his contender, Amankwah Evans, had 14,157 (45.76%) of the votes cast.

Interestingly, the NPP’s flagbearer, Nana Akufo-Addo, garnered more votes (16,845 representing 55.5%) than the incumbent MP in that election.

This trend where the NPP’s presidential candidate gets more votes as compared to that of the NPP parliamentary candidate continued in the 2016 election as Nana Akufo-Addo secured 18,643 votes (60.75%), K.T. Hammond had 16,468 representing 54.37%.

With this trend, some delegates said incumbency fatigue may have set in, so they needed to try a new face.

So for the first time in 20 years, delegates of the NPP in the Adansi-Asokwa Constituency went to the polls to elect a candidate to contest the parliamentary election.

The last five primaries had been by popular acclamation as the incumbent, Mr Hammond, was always the sole candidate.

However, in 2020, a former President of the National Union of Ghana Students (NUGS), Mr Samuel Binfoh Dakwa, decided to break Mr Hammond’s monopoly and challenge him at the primary.

Mr Dakwa’s entry into the race generated much interest from both party supporters and residents; with Mr Dakwa vowing to unseat the political stalwart Mr Hammond.

The former NUGS president, however, lost the primary election.

Again, in 2024, the Trade and Industry Minister beat his closest contender, Samuel Binfoh Darkwa, in the NPP Parliamentary Primary held in Adansi-Asokwa on Saturday, January 27.

He won the primary with 311 votes, while Mr Darkwa polled 125.

Addressing journalists after being declared the poll winner, Mr Hammond equated himself to boxing heavyweight champion Mohammed Ali and quoted some words from the world champion.

“I am the undefeated, undisputed heavyweight champion of the politics of Adansi Asokwa. I remain the champion, undefeated, no champion, no ‘libilibi’. No mouth, mouth. Nobody,” he proclaimed.

Before his win, K.T. Hammond said his motivation to re-enter the parliamentary primary in the constituency was to return to Parliament and help fill the vacuum created by the decision of many experienced MPs from the NPP side who would not return to the House.

READ ALSO: 18 NPP MPs Voluntarily Exit Parliament

Following the announcement by Joseph Osei Owusu, MP for Bekwai; Dan Botwe, MP for Okere; Samuel Atta Akyea, MP for Abuakwa South; and Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, MP for Suame; that they will not be returning to Parliament, Mr Hammond said it will affect the quality of work in the House.

 

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