EC sued over Ayawaso West Wuogon by-election date

BY: Emmanuel Ebo Hawkson
Jean Mensah — EC Boss
Jean Mensah — EC Boss

The opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) Chairman in the Awayaso West Wuogon Constituency, Mr Bismark Aborbi-Ayitey, has dragged the Electoral Commission (EC) to the Supreme Court over its decision to hold the by-election in the constituency on January 31, 2019.

The parliamentary seat of the Ayawaso West Wuogon became vacant following the death of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) Member of Parliament (MP) for the area, Mr Emmanuel Kyeremanteng Agyarko, on November 21, 2018.

It is the case of the plaintiff that following the death of the NPP MP for Ayawaso West Wuogon, Parliament formally declared the seat vacant and informed the EC on November 26, 2018.

The Constitution

According to the plaintiff, per Article 112 (5) of the 1992 Constitution, a by-election is supposed to be held 60 days after the seat was declared vacant, especially if the seat became vacant as a result of the death of the MP.

In view of that, it is the contention of the plaintiff that the by-election is, therefore, supposed to be held before or on January 26, 2019 and not on January 31, 2019.

“The decision of the EC to fix January 31, 2019 and not January 26, 2019 as the date for the by-election in the Ayawaso West Wuogon Constituency, whether due to sheer inadvertence in the reckoning of the period for the said by-election or reckless disregard for the mandatory constitutional timeframe, means in effect the by-election will be held outside of the 60 days period stipulated in the Constitution,’’ he said.

The plaintiff is being represented by Dr Dominic Ayine, a former Attorney-General (A-G), and the MP for Bolgatanga East.

Among other reliefs, Mr Aborbi–Ayitey is seeking a “declaration that by a true and proper reading of Article 112 (5) of the Constitution, where, in the event of the death of a Member of Parliament, a vacancy is created in a particular constituency, the by-election to fill that vacancy must be held within 60 days after the occurrence of the vacancy’’.

He also wants an order directed at the EC “to conduct and supervise the Ayawaso West Wuogon Constituency by-election not later than the 26th day of January in consonance with the mandatory constitutional time frame.