Today, May 23, 2023, is a crucial day for the Kumawu Constituency in the Ashanti Region as voters go to the polls to elect a new Member of Parliament. The seat became vacant after the death of the former MP, Philip Basoah, who belonged to the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP) in March this year.
Four candidates are contesting for the seat: Ernest Anim of the NPP, Kwasi Amankwaa of the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC), and two independent candidates with identical names: Kwaku Duah. One of them has a dove as his symbol while the other has a farming tool.
The by-election is expected to be peaceful and orderly as the National Peace Council in the Ashanti Region has urged the two major parties NPP and NDC to avoid any acts that may cause violence or chaos. The Regional Chairman of the Council Rt. Rev. Nuh Ben Abubekr also advised the Electoral Commission (EC) officials to conduct their duties professionally and impartially.
“We don’t want a repeat of what happened at Ayawaso Wuogon constituency during the by-election. We want peace. Parliament has also enacted a law, the police chief Dampare George Akuffo has also met the two main political parties. We expect them to follow the law and follow the road map they themselves have set up. The EC officials who have been selected to see to the running of the by-election should do their work properly and impartially without deviating from what they have been taught,” Rt. Rev. Nuh Ben Abubekr said.
The Police have also assured of their readiness to maintain law and order at today’s by-election. They have deployed adequate personnel to Kumawu and other communities within the Constituency to support the local Police to provide security for the election.
The Police have also engaged with the parties contesting the election to enhance collaboration among all stakeholders towards a peaceful election. They have asked them to provide effective polling agents who can understand and observe the voting process.
About 34,000 voters are expected to cast their ballots in 78 polling stations in the Kumawu Constituency. The polls opened at 7 am and will close at 5 pm.
The Kumawu Constituency has been a stronghold of the NPP since 1996 when it was carved out of Sekyere East Constituency. The NPP won six out of seven parliamentary elections in Kumawu with Philip Basoah being elected three times in 2008, 2012, and 2016.
The NDC is hoping to make history by winning the seat for the first time. The party’s General Secretary Johnson Asiedu Nketia and National Organiser Joshua Akamba have led a team of party executives and supporters to campaign for their candidate Kwasi Amankwaa.
The two independent candidates Kwaku Duah are also confident of causing an upset in today’s by-election. They claim to have massive support from disgruntled members of both NPP and NDC who are dissatisfied with their parties’ performance.
The outcome of today’s by-election will have implications for both NPP and NDC as they prepare for the 2024 general elections. The NPP currently has a slim majority in Parliament with 138 seats while the NDC has 137 seats.