With the inception of the 4th Republic – since 1992 – Ghanaians have witnessed fourteen by-elections, following from the demise of members of Parliament (MPs), court judgments, and resignations, among others.
The awaiting Amenfi West Constituency by-election, following from the death of John Gyetuah, of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), will be the fifteenth. The total number of by-elections to date would have been 16, excluding the impending Amenfi West, but for a High Court’s judgment in 2012 that stopped the Electoral Commission (EC) from organising two other by-elections in the Kwabre West and Wulensi constituencies.
In the case of the two by-elections that were stopped, three political parties – NDC, NPP and CPP – which petitioned a High Court and prayed that the EC should not be allowed to use the old voters’ register, but rather use the then biometric voters register that was being compiled to conduct the two aforesaid by-elections.
The EC insisted on using the old register under the pretext that it had not completed the biometric register. Finally, the EC could not organise the two by-elections, because the High Court upheld the petition. The by-elections for the two constituencies became necessary after the death of Mr. Owusu Ansah (NPP), and Alhaji Saani Idi (NDC), MPs for the Kwabre West and Wulensi constituencies, respectively.
Eight out of the 14 constituencies where those by-elections had been held, prior to the by-elections, were occupied by the NPP, while NDC occupied 6. In terms of maintaining one’s seat in a by-election whilst in government, NDC has maintained one, Jirapa constituency (2009), and the NPP maintained 4, which were Kumawu Constituency (2002), Gomoa Constituency (2003), Navrongo Central Constituency (2003), and Fomena Constituency (2006). Again, in terms of maintaining one’s seat in a by-election whilst in opposition, the NDC has maintained one, Tamale Central, 2006, and the NPP, 2, which are Ablekuma Central Constituency, 1999, and Atiwa Constituency, 2010.
When it comes to losing one’s seat in a by-election whilst in government, the NDC is on record to have lost one, Afigya Sekyere constituency, 1996, and the NPP has never lost any by-election whilst in government. Again, when it comes to losing one’s seat in a by-election whilst in opposition, the NDC has lost 3, which are the Bimbilla Constituency, 2002, Wulensi Constituency, 2003, and Amemfi West Constituency, 2003. The NPP has also lost 2 seats in by-elections whilst in opposition, and these were the Chereponi Constituency, 2009, and Talensi Constituency, 2015.
Throughout the Second Parliament – between 1997 and 2000 – two by-elections were held. The first by-election under the Second Parliament was held in 1997 at the Afigya Sekyere constituency, and the main contenders were Pius M. Griffiths, the incumbent NDC MP, and Kwesi Akomea Kyeremateng of the NPP, and the latter won. After that came the 1999 by-elections, following from the death of the MP for Ablekuma Central, C. S. Crabbe of the NPP. The NPP won back that seat in the person of Victor Okuley Nortey.
Under the Third Parliament, 2001 – 2004, six by-elections were held, three each in NPP and NDC held constituencies. These were Bimbilla (NDC), Kumawu (NPP), Gomoa East (NPP), Wulensi (NDC), Amenfi West (NDC), and Navrongo Central (NPP). The then ruling government of the NPP snatched all the 3 constituencies that were occupied by NDC prior to the by-election, and also maintained the other three seats.
In 2002, the MP for Bimbilla Constituency, Dr. Mohammed Ibn Chambas resigned and took a new appointment as ECOWAS Executive Secretary. The NPP snatched that constituency from the NDC, and it was that by-election which sent Dominic Nitiwul of the NPP to Parliament. And in October the same year, another by-election was held in the Kumawu Constituency after the death of Reo Addai Basoah, NPP. Yaw Baah, on the ticket of the NPP, won that by-election.
The following year, 2003, 4 by-elections were held. In February of that year (2003), Richmond Sam Quarm, NPP, won the Gomoa East Constituency by-election, after Emmanuel Acheampong, also of NPP, died in an accident. In that same period, Kofi Karim Wumbei, on the ticket of NPP, won the Wulensi by-election. This was after the MP for that constituency, Samuel Nyimakan of the NDC, was disqualified by a High Court, which was upheld by the Supreme Court on the grounds that he did not come from that constituency, nor stayed there.
Then in March 2003, following the resignation of Abraham Kofi Asante of the NDC, Agnes Sonful, on the ticket of NPP, won the Amenfi West Constituency by-election. During that time, another by-election was held in the Navrongo Central Constituency after the death of John Setuni Achuliwor, NPP. Kofi Adda, on the ticket of NPP, won that by-election.
Two by-elections were held throughout the 4th Parliament – January 2005 – December 2008. In April 2006, Inusah Fuseini, on the NDC ticket, won the Tamale Central Constituency by-election. This by-election followed the resignation of Dr. Wayo Seini, also of the NDC, from Parliament immediately after the NDC congress at Koforidua, EREDEC Hotel.
It was this very congress, which also led to the resignation of Dr. Obed Asamoah, Bede Ziedeng, Francaise Essiam and others to form a new political party, Democratic Freedom Party (DFP). The NPP did not file a candidate in that by-election, and Dr. Wayo Seini, who had resigned, re-contested as an independent candidate and lost to the NDC candidate. And in November the same year, Nana Abu Bonsra, NPP, won the Fomena Constituency by-election after Akwasi Afrifa, NPP, died.
Between 2009 and 2012, three by-elections were held under the 5th Parliament. After the demise of Edward Kojo Salia, NDC, Jirapa Constituency, Bawaana Dakura, also of the NDC, won the by-election in April 2009. In September the same year, Samuel Abdulai Jubenyete, NDC, snatched the Chereponi Constituency from the NPP, after the death of Doris Asibi Seidu. And in August 2010, Kwasi Amoako Atta, NPP, won the Atiwa Constituency by-election after Kwasi Annor Ankamah, NPP, died.
In July this year, B.T. Baba, NDC, won the Talensi Constituency by-election, after the sitting MP, Robert Nachinab Doaneng, NPP, resigned upon his installation as the Paramount Chief of Tongo. The impending Amenfi West Constituency by-election, as a result of the death of John Gyetuah, NDC, will bring to a total of two so far witnessed under the 6th Parliament – 2012 to 2016 – and 15 so far under the 4th Republic.
Source: Owusu Agyapong || The Chronicle