The upcoming Kumawu by-election is one that has caught the attention of many considering some issues emerging prior to the election to be held on Tuesday, May 23, 2023.
The area has had to vote for another Member of Parliament following the demise of their Member of Parliament; Philip Basoah who passed after a short illness on March 27, 2023.
Ahead of the elections, two candidates who are running independently have come up with similar identities.
Both candidates who go by the name – Kwaku Duah aside their name, seem to have been in the same type of clothing; Kente and had the same symbol – a dove.
The symbol of one of these candidates – the younger Kwaku Duah has been changed by the Electoral Commission to become an axe and the Electoral Commission has been explaining why.
In a report by Graphiconline, the Commission noted that both candidates presented photographs of themselves in the same attire and symbol to the Commission’s District Officer in Kumawu.
This Notice of Poll was neither approved by the EC nor gazetted, making it non-legal and binding. A Notice of Poll can only become legal and binding after it is gazetted.
In a statement dated May 21, 2023, the EC noted that;
“The version circulating on social media was never gazette. It was a mere draft reflecting the photographs and symbols presented to the District Officer.
When this anomaly came to the notice of the Commission, the second Independent Candidate was advised to change his symbol since he was the last to submit his Nomiation Form,” the statement further noted.
The EC further noted that it was compelled to apply Regulation 14 (1) (b) and (c) of the Public Elections Regulations, 2020, C.I. 127 which allows the EC to use its own discretion to choose a symbol for a candidate in such a situation because the second candidate refused to comply with the Commission’s directive to change his symbol.
Attached below is a copy of the EC statement:
NOTICE OF POLL FOR THE KUMAWU BY-ELECTION
The attention of the Electoral Commission has been drawn to a Notice of Poll circulating on social media purporting to be that of the Kumawu By-Election. The Notice of Poll has the photos of two Independent Candidates, wearing kente cloth. The said Candidates have the symbol of a bird.
For the information of the Public, both Independent Candidates presented photographs of themselves in kente and a picture of a bird as their symbol to our District Officer in Kumawu.
Based on this, a draft Notice of Poll, bearing the photograph of the Independent Candidates with similar names, attires and symbols was prepared and submitted to the Commission for approval.
It was neither approved by the Commission nor gazetted. A Notice of Poll becomes legal and binding only after it is gazetted. The version circulating on social media was never gazetted. It was a mere draft reflecting the photographs and symbols presented to the District Officer.
When this anomaly came to the notice of the Commission, the second Independent Candidate was advised to change his symbol since he was the last to submit his Nomination Form.
He refused to do so causing the Commission to apply Regulation 14(1) (b) and (c) of the Public Elections Regulations, 2020, C.I. 127 which states as follows:
14 (1) “Where an election is contested, the Commission shall, as soon as practicable after the nomination day;
(b) allocate to a candidate who is not sponsored by a registered political party a symbol, colour or combination of colours chosen by that candidate; or
(c) allocate a symbol, colour or combination of colours that the Commission considers appropriate in any other case”.
The Commission has assigned him the symbol of a hoe which is reflected in the Notice of Poll posted throughout Kumawu.
We assure the Public that the Commission will not tolerate acts that are at variance with its regulations and which have the potential of undermining its hard-earned reputation and integrity.
It is a well-known fact that as a Commission we have always operated and lived by our motto:
Integrity, Fairness and Transparency. We will continue to do so, GOD being our helper.
The approved and gazetted Notice of Poll for the Kumawu By-Election is attached.
In less than 24 hours, voters of the Kumawu Constituency will elect their member of parliament for the constituency following the death of their incumbent member of parliament.
Philip Basoah died on Monday, March 27 at the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital, where he had been on admission for a serious ailment.
According to a report by the brother of the late Kumawu Member of Parliament, Philip Basoah, Solomon Basoah, his brother was found unconscious in his room on March 24 and was rushed to the hospital where he passed four days later.