The newly-elected National Democratic Congress (NDC) Parliamentary candidate for Ayawaso West Wuogon, John Dumelo has revealed he paid school fees for some persons before the party went into primaries on Saturday, August 24, ABC News can report.
In an interview on Joy News, the actor-turned-politician stated that he did all these out of goodwill and not as an act of vote-buying.
The just-ended NDC primaries was fraught with reports of vote-buying according to two defeated aspirants; Ras Mubarak and Victoria Hamah, who contested the Kumbungu and Kintampo North Constituencies respectively.
Mr. Mubarak alluded some of his contenders may have been engaged in money laundering considering the wanton display of cash in his constituency during Saturday’s polls.
He has therefore reported the matter to the Bureau of National Investigations (BNI) to look into it believing it may be the cause of his defeat to Dr. Hamza Adam who won with a 128 vote margin.
Victoria Hamah on her part, took to Facebook to lament on the possible vote-buying noting: “Elections in Ghana are so easy. Just make sure you are the highest bidder on the Election Day and you will surely win,” Hamah wrote.
She added: “I couldn’t do so, despite that I am the most resourceful of the candidates; I have chosen the path of the Sanatana Dharma and I couldn’t betray it.”
Speaking on the possibility of these allegations, Mr. Dumelo said he embarked on certain philanthropic work before the election and he does not consider those to be acts of vote-buying.
According to him, he did all that in a bid to help the people in his community.
“At the end of the day, you can’t really define what is vote-buying. I mean, look, before the election, I was paying school fees for delegates, before the election, I was giving out loans to women who were delegates to expand their business and so on and so forth. I don’t think that is vote-buying.
I think for me it is helping people to be able to you know, expand their businesses or helping people and so on and so forth. I even donated plastic chairs to certain branches because, at the end of the day when you go and you speak to them, they say that John, we don’t have plastic chairs, we rent plastic chairs and I was like no, okay then let me get provide some for them. So all these things are things that I’ve been doing and I don’t think that is vote-buying, I think that you are attending to the needs of the delegates and so if people say there was a lot of vote-buying, I don’t think that is the case” John Dumelo disclosed.
When asked if he would have done same had he lost the elections, the Ayawaso West NDC Parliamentary Candidate said he had been helping people even before the primaries came to mind and therefore does not consider it as vote-buying.
“I mean from 2012 I was paying fees for people in legon campus I don’t think that was vote-buying. I think I was just helping the community and so it’s not…I mean there is a thin line between helping somebody and saying that you’re buying votes. You’re not buying the votes because at the end of the day the good thing about Ayawaso West Wuogon is that the delegates are discerning,” he added.
Meanwhile, Deputy General Secretary of the NDC, Barbara Asamoah says the executives of the party will begin thorough investigations into allegations of vote-buying and punish anyone who is found culpable of the said allegations.
“We woke up this morning to Victoria and Ras Mubarak’s allegations. We’re not going to sweep it under the carpet. Like I said, we’re going to investigate as to how it happened even though we tried to avoid it. And then in future, if we have to punish people, we’ll do that,” she said on Accra based JoyNews.