Voters in Kumawu are gearing up to choose a replacement for their late Member of Parliament, Philip Atta Basoah, who passed away on March 27th of this year while still serving his third consecutive term.
The upcoming by-election has garnered significant attention with bigwigs of both parties storming the constituency to canvass for votes. GhanaWeb looks at five reasons why it holds great importance for political players and observers.
The dynamics of numbers in parliament:
In the current 8th Parliament, both the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP) and the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) entered with 137 members each, resulting in a tie. The balance shifted when the only independent member of the house, Andrew Asiamah Amoako, the MP for Formena, decided to join the NPP caucus.
Although the NPP gained an extra member, they have faced challenges in pushing government agenda in the house.
With the recent court ruling declaring James Gyakye Quayson’s election in Assin North as unconstitutional, the minority caucus now stands at 136. While a victory in the Kumawu by-election won’t equalize the numbers, the NDC is keen on clinching the seat to offer stronger competition to the majority.
The threat of a ‘pro-opposition’ independent candidate
In the 2020 parliamentary election, a dissatisfied NPP member from Kumawu, Kwaku Duah, ran as an independent candidate and came second, posing a close challenge to the NPP’s candidate, Philip Basoah. Kwaku Duah is now set to compete against the NPP’s new candidate, Ernest Yaw Anim.
The independent candidate is seen as a strong contender and a potential threat to the NPP’s hold on the seat. In response, the NPP has launched an intensive campaign effort, with prominent government and party officials, including President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo and Vice President Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia, visiting the constituency to rally support for their candidate.
The Kwaku Duahs
Adding intrigue to the by-election is another independent candidate with the same name, Kwaku Duah, who recently joined the race.
Some speculate that this new candidate, hailing from Bodomase, is being sponsored by the NPP to disrupt the chances of the leading independent candidate.
The two Kwaku Duahs will appear consecutively on the ballot paper, raising concerns about potential confusion. To address this, the Electoral Commission has required the younger Duah to use a different symbol, a hoe, for distinction.
The elder Kwaku Duah claims that the new candidate is a family member who has been supported by the NPP to run against him.
Dress rehearsal for election 2024
For both the NPP and NDC, the Kumawu by-election serves as a dress rehearsal for the upcoming 2024 general elections.
The NDC aims to regain power, while the NPP aims to break the eight-year cycle of power rotation. Both parties are also eager to secure a significant majority in the next parliament. The by-election provides an opportunity to test their preparedness and strategies for the battle ahead in 2024.
The Ashanti Region is traditionally considered an NPP stronghold, and the party wants to send a strong signal to the opposition through the Kumawu by-election.
A win for the NPP is not only desired but also a convincing victory that will convey the party’s strength and determination.
On the other hand, the NDC can make a statement by either providing a close contest or potentially upsetting the NPP’s hold in Kumawu.
As the Kumawu constituency prepares for the by-election, all eyes are on the outcome and its implications for the political landscape.