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There will be no by-election at Mfantseman constituency

BY: Nana Konadu Agyeman
The late Ekow Kwansah Hayford
The late Ekow Kwansah Hayford

There will be no by-election at the Mfantseman constituency in the Central Region following the killing of the Member of Parliament for the area, Ekow Kwansah Hayford last Friday.

Per Article 112 (5) of the 1992 Constitution, a by-election shall be held within 30 days after a vacancy occurs in Parliament.

That notwithstanding, Clause 5 of Article 112 of the Constitution also states that a by-election shall not be held within three months before the holding of a general election.

Therefore since Ekow Kwansah Hayford died 60 days before the December 7, 2020 general election, there can be no election by mere calculation of the period which is less than three months to the general election.

Media must stop misleading public - Speaker 

On the floor of Parliament on Wednesday [October 14, 2020] there was a discussion that some media houses had published that there was going to be a by-election following the killing of the MP.

But reacting, the Speaker of Parliament, Prof Aaron Mike Oquaye  advised the media to desist from misleading the public, reports Nana Konadu Agyeman, who is Graphic Online's correspondent in Parliament.

The Speaker said the sudden death of the Mfantseman  MP does not automatically pave the way for a by-election.

He said per Article 112 (5) of the Constitution, a by-election shall be held within 30 days after a vacancy occurred.

He said notwithstanding Clause 5 of the Article 112 a by-election shall not be held within three months before the holding of a general election.

"Of course 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," he said.

Prof. Oquaye who was addressing Parliament said "I would respectfully say that if we do not take care, we will add insults 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 and our Legal Department [in Parliament] whenever we want to quote from laws and from the Constitution or make reference," he said.

Minority Leader's concern

Prof Oquaye gave the advice after the Minority Leader, Mr Haruna Iddrisu had raised concern that there were some misleading media information in the public domain arising out of the "regrettably" death of the MP for Mfantseman.

Mr Haruna Iddrisu told the House that some newspapers on Wednesday published stories to the effect that a candidate for a by-election in the Mfantseman constituency had been determined.

Quoting Article 112, he said "Nothwitstanding clause 5 of this article by-election shall not be held within three months before the holding of a general election."

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

"Because of the time limit, we virtually have 55 days to the elections so the media, if they will endeavor, to desist from further misleading the public. There will no by-election in the Mfantseman constituency," he said.