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Keep your heads up: Assin North will be blue again, Akufo-Addo tells NPP

President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo/Assin North by-election

President Nana Akufo-Addo

The President of the Republic, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, has called on members of his New Patriotic Party (NPP) to keep their head up and know that since the party has held the Assin North seat before, the NPP will, sooner rather than later, capture the seat again.

The president’s comment was posted on his Facebook wall today (Wednesday 28 June 2023), the day after the NPP lost the Assin North by-election to the National Democratic Congress (NDC).

“Yesterday, Tuesday 27 June 2023, Ghana’s democratic credentials were strengthened even further, following the conduct of peaceful and credible elections in the Assin North by-election. I congratulate warmly the chairperson and members of the Electoral Commission, again, for a job well done.

“The security services are to be commended for maintaining law and order during the holding of the elections; as [are] the media for providing extensive coverage before, during and after the elections.

“I congratulate the National Democratic Congress on its victory yesterday,” President Akufo-Addo wrote in his Facebook wall.

“I urge members of my party, the New Patriotic Party, to keep their heads up, recognising that, in a democracy, there are winners and losers, and that we live to fight another day. We once held the Assin North seat, and I am confident that, sooner rather than later, Assin North will be blue again,” the president’s Facebook post further said.

Outcome of by-election

James Gyakye Quayson, the parliamentary candidate for the National Democratic Congress, retained Assin North for the NDC in the 27 June by-election.

Quayson garnered 17,245 votes (57.56%) to beat his main rival, Charles Opoku of the NPP, who won 12,630 (42.15%) of the total votes cast. The candidate of Liberal Party of Ghana (LPG), Bernice Enyonam Sefenu, won 87 votes, representing 0.29% of the total cast.

The total valid votes cast were 29,962 and the total number of votes cast was 30,418. Rejected ballots were 456 and the turnout was 74.23%. The constituency has 40,978 registered voters.

Background

Quayson, in spite of a high court judgment declaring his election as an MP in the 2020 election unconstitutional, continued to hold himself as a Member of Parliament and was seen attending sittings of the House and carrying out parliamentary duties.

Displeased with his actions, the petitioner in the high court action, Michael Ankomah-Nimfah, a resident of Assin North, filed an application at the Supreme Court seeking an order to injunct Quayson.

He also sought an interpretation of Article 94 (2a) of the 1992 constitution of the republic, which states that “a person shall not be qualified to be a member of Parliament if he – (a) owes allegiance to a country other than Ghana”.

The injunction order of the Supreme Court will remain in force until the final determination of the application seeking interpretation of Article 94 (2a). The Cape Coast high court restrained Quayson from holding himself as the MP for Assin North on the NDC ticket.

On Wednesday 28 July 2021, Justice Kwasi Boakye also ordered those fresh parliamentary elections be held in the constituency. This followed a parliamentary election petition, brought by Michael Ankomah-Nimfah to the Cape Coast high court, seeking to annul the MP’s election.

Quayson polled 17,498 votes, against 14,793 for the New Patriotic Party’s Abena Durowaa Mensah, in the 7 December 2020 parliamentary election.

On 30 December 2020, Michael Ankomah-Nimfah filed a parliamentary election petition at the Cape Coast high court, challenging Quayson’s eligibility to be an MP.

He argued that the MP was not eligible because, at the time he (Quayson) filed his nomination to stand as a parliamentary candidate, he was still a citizen of Canada.

The act of filing, he argued, was against the express provisions of Article 94 (2a) of the 1992 constitution and Section 9(2) of the Representation of the People Act 1992 (PNDCL 284).

Reporting by Wilberforce Asare in Accra

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