The National Chairman of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), Johnson Aseidu Nketiah, popularly known as General Mosquito, has expressed worry that the Electoral Commission (EC) may not be up to the task of discharging its duties during the Kumawu by-elections.
His comments were in reaction to the two independent candidates in the Kumawu by-election who bear the same name and are using the same emblem to vie for the election.
According to him, it is concerning that the Electoral Commission allowed two independent candidates to contest the Kumawu by election using a similar identity.
“Any time I see those election notices, I become sad because I think the Electoral Commission we have today is not that which Ghana deserves. Because if someone files his document with the same name and symbol and another person also comes file with the same name and symbol, at least if you cannot change the name, it least you could change the symbol to something else. I believe that when you go to register a company and it happens that that name has been used, the registerer general will not allow you to use the same identity,” he said.
He added that the EC allowing the two candidates to contest in the by-election under the same identity is an attempt to create problems during the election.
“So I am very curious that the Electoral Commission sat to allow this clear attempt to create problem,” he added.
The National Chairman, Johnson Aseidu Nketiah was speaking to Kumasi-based Oyerepa TV and was monitored by Ghanaweb.
The people of Kumawu, following the demise of their Member of Parliament, Philip Basoah, will go to the polls for a by-election on May 23, 2023, to elect a new representative in the current 8th Parliament.
While everything seems set for the election, a development in the names of two out of the four candidates who have been approved by the Electoral Commission to contest in the election has got political watchers now paying closer attention to the contest.
Before the announcement of the notice of poll by the EC, the contest had already generated interest as the elected candidate of the New Patriotic Party, Ernest Yaw Anim, was expected to face stiff competition in the bid of his party to retain the seat.
His closest contenders include a former member of the party in the constituency, Kwaku Duah, who chose to run independently against the deceased MP in the 2020 election.
Mr Duah came second in the 2020 contest with a total valid vote of 11,698, representing 39.96% of the total votes, as against Mr Basoah who won the race with 14,960 valid votes, representing 51.11% of the total votes.
Aside from having to contend with Kwaku Duah, who has also decided to contest again in the upcoming election, the NPP also has to worry about the candidate of the opposition National Democratic Congress, Kwasi Amankwah, who some believe may be able to take advantage of the situation and grab a win, even though the Kumawu Constituency is traditionally an NPP seat.
However, in what some people believe to be a move sponsored by the ruling NPP, another candidate also bearing the name Kwaku Duah has joined the contest as an independent candidate.
Relatively unknown to the electorate until the declaration of his intent to contest in the election, some critics believe the young independent candidate, who hails from Bodomase, is being sponsored by the NPP in a clever strategy to derail the prospects of the leading independent candidate.
Per the rules of the EC, independent candidates, when it comes to their appearance on the ballot paper, only have the advantage of “first come, first serve” after the position of candidates representing registered political parties is determined.
Thus, come May 23, the two Kwaku Duahs will appear in consecutive order at the bottom of the ballot paper.
Strikingly, the new Kwaku Duah chose a dove as his symbol on the ballot paper, just like the senior Kwaku Duah.
Other candidates in the race for the Kumawu by-election are candidates of the Convention People’s Party and the Liberal People’s Party, bringing the total number of contenders to six.