Ayawaso West Wuogon by-election in focus
The die is cast and the battle line drawn for a showdown on December 31, 2019 when four political parties court the thumbprints of every eligible voter in the Ayawaso West Wuogon Constituency in a by-election to replace the deceased Member of Parliament (MP) for that constituency, Mr Emmanuel Kyeremateng Agyarko.
He was buried over the weekend.
The four political parties vying for the vacant seat are the New Patriotic Party (NPP), National Democratic Congress (NDC), Progressive People’s Party (PPP) and the Liberal Party of Ghana (LPG).
The candidates vying for those parties are Ms Lydia Seyram Alhassan, NPP; Kwasi Delali Brempong, NDC; William Dowokpor, PPP, and Clement Boadi of the LPG.
All those parties have, after filing their nominations, since been waging an aggressive campaign to capture that seat and present a formidable message to the Ghanaian electorate of what they have up their sleeve, not only for the by-election but also for the general election of 2020.
History of the constituency
The significance of this by-election, going by conventional political perspectives since the advent of democracy in the Fourth Republic, might be a straight bout between the NPP and the NDC.
In the 2016 election, Mr Agyarko of the NPP polled 32,591, representing 57.32 per cent; Delali Kwasi Brempong, NDC, 22,534, representing 39.63 per cent; William Dowokpor, PPP, had 1,099, representing 1.93 per cent; while Kweku Quansah of the Convention People’s Party (CPP) managed 638 votes, representing 1.12 per cent.
In 2012, Mr Agyarko of the NPP had 31,807, representing 50.30 per cent; Kwame Awuah-Darko of the NDC had 30,116 votes, representing 47.63 per cent; William Dowokpor, PPP, 998, 1.58 per cent; Antisem Donkor, CPP, 169, 0.27 per cent; Foster Apetor of the National Democratic Party (NDP), 74, 0.12 per cent, and Henry Haruna Asante, PNC, 68, representing 0.11 per cent.
In the 2008 election, the current Chief of Staff at the Presidency, Madam Akosua Frema Osei Opare, stood on the ticket of the NPP, and had 24,603, representing 48.24 per cent; Albert Kwadwo Twum Boafo of the NDC had 21,564, 42.28 per cent; William Dowokpor, then of the CPP, 1,910, representing 3.75 per cent, with Henry Haruna Asante of the PNC polling 374, representing 0.73 per cent.
The 2004 poll had Madam Osei Opare polling 28,636, representing 52.10 per cent; Samuel Adiepena, NDC, 20,828 which translates into 37.90 per cent; Ivor Kobina Greenstreet of the CPP, 4,964, nine per cent, and Henry Haruna Asante of the PNC polled 506, representing one per cent.
For the 2000 election, Mr George Isaac Amoo of the NPP polled 17,555, representing 56.20 per cent; Mr Elvis Afriyie Ankrah of the NDC polled 11,388 votes, representing 36.50 per cent; Jane Chinebuah of the CPP polled 1,077, representing 3.50 per cent; Mary Elsie Yirenkyi of the NRP, 715, representing 2.30 per cent, and Samuel Addy of the PNC polling 477 votes representing 1.50 per cent.
The 1996 election had Rebecca Akweley Adotey of the NDC polling 15,089 votes, representing 35.10 per cent; George Isaac Amoo of the NPP had 14,795, 34.40 per cent (was challenged in court), Andrews La-Anyane of the PNC, 1,127, 2.60 per cent; Jane Chinebuah of the CPP, 852, two per cent, and an independent candidate, Joyce Abla Tamakloe, had 855, two per cent.
The 1992 parliamentary election had the Mr Francis Napoleon K. Kumah of the National Convention Party (NCP), an appendage of the NDC, winning.
Within the 28-year span of parliamentary elections in the Fourth Republic, the NPP has won the Ayawaso West Wuogon seat five times, as against two by the NDC.
Fast-forward to 2019, the background to the by-election provides an interesting scenario with the NPP in government, and half-way into its four-year term, suffering a political casualty with the death of the sitting MP for that constituency.
In a rather interesting twist which some political thinkers have described as bizarre, one of the two wives of the late MP, Ms Lydia Seyram Alhassan, has been elected to contest the seat occupied by her late husband.
Pundits are of the view that her picture, as it is on the notice of poll, in mourning clothes and with a sad expression, may provide her with the advantage of sympathy votes while others are of the view that her move smacks of insensitivity.
Faced with the threat of another defeat, the NDC candidate, Delali Kwasi Brempong, posits that he does not believe the NPP’s candidate will pose a threat to his chances of claiming the seat.
While the duo-political contest between the NPP and NDC continues, there are two other potent political scavengers on the lose prying to take advantage of the weaknesses of the bigwigs.
Mr Dowokpor is not a fresh face or name to the constituency, having previously contested for the CPP and later shifting allegiance to the PPP.
Mr Dowokpor, who is contesting the seat for the fourth consecutive time since 2008, is seeking to garner not less than 45 per cent of the valid votes to enable him to triumph over his contenders.
But the candidate to watch out for is that of the LPG who, among the four contenders, has the advantage of age, being the youngest.
Mr Boadi has promised to pull a shocker in the upcoming poll because the time has come to break the political duopoly of the NPP and NDC.
Clearly, the outcome of the election will be a precursor of what to expect in the general election of 2020.
A loss for the NPP might signal the assessment of the government, two years into its term, and provide the opposition NDC with a tool to intensify its campaign in 2020.
Other political thoughts are of the opinion that should the NPP win, the margin by which it wins would also hold much for the future of the party in the next election.
All said and done, the battle lines are drawn and Ghanaians await with bated breath the outcome of the Ayawaso West Wuogon Constituency by-election on January 31, 2019.