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No by-election in Mfantseman — Speaker

BY: Nana Konadu Agyeman
Prof. Aaron Mike Oquaye
Prof. Aaron Mike Oquaye

The Speaker of Parliament, Prof. Aaron Mike Oquaye, has said there will be no by-election in the Mfantseman Constituency to replace the slain Member of Parliament (MP), Mr Ekow Quansah Hayford, as is being speculated in sections of the media.

He has thus advised the media to desist from misleading the public with information that a by-election will be held soon to fill the vacancy created by Mr Hayford’s demise.

Making reference to Article 112 of the Constitution, the Speaker said a by-election shall not be held within three months before the holding of a general election.

 "Simple calculation tells us that we are not within the three months since the death of our colleague occurred. Therefore, there can be no election by mere calculation or mere infraction of time, so let us not mis-advise ourselves,” he said.

Addressing Parliament yesterday, Prof. Oquaye said: "I would respectfully say that if we do not take care, we will add insult to injury if we become unnecessarily speculative in this kind of situation. And we should all learn to quote from the Constitution itself and seek direction from the Public Affairs Unit and our Legal Department whenever we want to quote from laws and from the Constitution or make references and we are not sure ourselves," he said.

Minority Leader's concern

The Speaker gave the advice after the Minority Leader, Mr Haruna Iddrisu, had raised concern about some misleading information in the public domain arising out of the death of the MP for Mfantseman.

Mr Iddrisu told the House that some newspapers, in their edition of October 14, published stories to the effect that a candidate for a by-election in Mfantseman had been determined.

 "Mr Speaker, the sudden death of our colleague does not create a constitutional duty for the Electoral Commission to conduct a by-election,” he said.

Quoting Article 112, the Minority Leader said: "Notwithstanding Clause 5 of this article, a by-election shall not be held within three months before the holding of a general election.”

"Mr Speaker, we virtually have 53 days to the elections and so the media, if they will endeavour, must desist from further misleading the public. There will no by-election in the Mfantseman Constituency," he said.

The Tamale South MP, however, pointed out that per C.I. 127, the governing regulations on elections, the political party to which the deceased MP belonged had, within 10 days, to make a determination of a legitimate candidate for the purpose of representing that constituency on the ticket of that party in the 2020 general election.

Widow not selected as candidate

Contributing, the MP for Okaikwei Central, Mr Patrick Yaw Boamah, said the New Patriotic Party (NPP) must be allowed to trigger all the constitutional processes needed for the selection of a candidate for the Mfantseman Constituency.

He urged the media to be circumspect and allow the NPP to take the necessary legal steps in selecting a candidate, as the death of the MP had not triggered any by-election.

He blatantly denied media reports that the NPP had settled on the widow of the late MP as its candidate for the Mfantseman Constituency.

Background

Last Tuesday, there were media reports that the widow of the late Mr Hayford, Mrs Ophelia Hayford, had been nominated to replace her late husband as the NPP’s parliamentary candidate for Mfantseman in the December general election.

The reports quoted the General Secretary of the party, Mr John Boadu, as having confirmed that decision.

"Yes, it is to a large extent true. I have been to the constituency several times and the whole constituency leadership and party members, the regional executive set-up and the national executive set-up deem it fit that she is the backbone of her husband," Mr Boadu was reported to have said in a radio interview .

"She knows the constituency very well, and considering the large support that the husband had and the kind of difficulties that the constituency is going through, a lot more of the constituents think that we should let the wife continue," he added in the interview with Accra-based Joy FM.

He added that "there is massive consensus", and that there was "no dissent at all" at all levels of consideration of the widow as the replacement at the constituency, regional and national levels.

Mr Boadu said the party would formally announce the decision later.

There were also reports that Mrs Hayford, an Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP), had since submitted her resignation letter to the Police Administration.

Mr Hayford, a first-time MP, was shot and killed by armed robbers in the early hours of last Friday while returning from a campaign tour.

He had, the day before the unfortunate incident, filed his nomination to seek re-election in the December polls.

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