Fought more ferociously, more doggedly, more ostentatiously, more brazenly, and oftentimes more brutally than General Elections are By-Elections in Ghana. Chereponi, Talensi, Akwatia, Agbogloshie, Atiwa, are but some of the more infamous names in the annals of By-elections in Ghana. These By-elections have been costly not only in terms of money but also life and limb. While there was fortunately no loss of life in the latest of Ghana’s by-elections, Ayawaso West Wuogon, there was enough violence to make Ayawaso West Wuogon take its place on the list of infamous by-elections in Ghana.
NPP-Canada re-echoes the concerns and sentiments of President Akufo-Addo by condemning the isolated violence that erupted during the by-elections. The President stated that “a by-election should be a peaceful and happy event, no matter how competitive”. NPP-Canada could not agree more with President Akufo-Addo on what a by-election should mean to the Ghanaian people.
As long as Ghana maintains a Parliament, there would be the inevitable need to replace a member of parliament (MP) who may have been deceased, resigned or otherwise incapacitated during the four-year term of a parliament. Should Ghana continue to have by-elections as we know it? That is the question NPP-Canada wishes to proffer an opinion.
In an online publication on November 22, 2018, by Joy News, the NDC member of parliament for Kumbungu in the Northern Region, Hon Ras Mubarak was reported to have admonished his NDC Party and other political parties not to put up a candidate for the Ayawaso West Wuogon seat. According to the publication, Hon. Mubarak wrote on his facebook wall as follows: “we should have an agreement amongst ourselves that if a sitting MP dies, the party from which he was an MP should select a candidate to serve his remaining term.” The events of January 31, the date of the Ayawaso West Wuogon by-elections have clearly vindicated the position of Hon Mubarak. It is unfortunate that NDC Chairman Samuel Ofosu-Ampofo did not apply such fore-sightedness in his first major test as Chairman of the NDC.
To deepen Democracy in Ghana, to enhance consensus-building for national development in Ghana, NPP-Canada takes the view that a bi-partisan consensus on future By-Elections would be a step in the right direction. To this end, NPP-Canada joins the growing calls on the NPP and the NDC to adopt a bi-partisan consensus to the effect that in the event of a by-election, a seat that was held by one of them would not be contested by the other.
If French, German and British soldiers fighting a bitter war could call a Christmas Truce across the blood-soaked trenches in 1914, there is no reason why there can’t be a By-Election Truce among the NPP and the NDC in 2019. This would save money. But more importantly, it would save lives.
Ghana, mon tie.