By Nicholas Osei-Wusu
The Ashanti regional secretariat of the Convention People’s Party (CPP) has expressed disappointment in the decision of the Central Committee of the party to discontinue any interest in contesting the upcoming By-election in Kumasi in the Ashanti region.
Speaking to our correspondent Nicholas Osei-Wusu in Kumasi, the Regional Secretary of the CPP, Abdul Salam, noted that, even though as the highest decision-making organ of the CPP, its decisions in such matters cannot be contested, disallowing the party’s candidate for the by-election is not only an embarrassment to the candidate as an individual and members of the CPP in the constituency, but will also impact negatively on the popularity of the party in next year’s Presidential and Parliamentary polls.
Following the sudden demise of the MP for Kumawu in March this year, the Speaker of Parliament declared his seat in the chamber vacant, following which the Electoral Commission, acting in accordance with the 1992 Constitution, has scheduled the 23rd of this month for the constituents to choose his replacement.
As part of preparations for this exercise, interested eligible individuals, registered political parties and the Electoral Commission have been undertaking various activities to meet the timeline.
So far, six persons have formally put themselves up for the by-election two of whom are contesting Independently.
The other four are representing the ruling New Patriotic Party, NPP, the main opposition National Democratic Congress, NDC, Convention People’s Party (CPP), and the Liberal People’s Party, LPG. Following the close of nominations on the 5th of this month, the Electoral Commission has balloted to place the contenders on the ballot paper with the CPP’s candidate placing Number one (1).
However, before the EC publishes the Notice of Poll to announce the candidates, the CPP has officially asked the Commission to announce its disinterest in contesting in the by-election.
A letter to this effect signed by the party’s General Secretary, Nana Yaa Akyempim Gyantua and seen by Radio Ghana did not assign any reason for the decision by the 2nd highest decision-making organ of the party.
The letter subsequently advised the EC to disregard anyone who purports to contest on the ticket of the party.
However, checks by Radio Ghana from the EC show that a popular member of the CPP, Ebenezer Boakye-Yiadom, an Elder of the local Assembly of the Church of Pentecost had successfully gone through all the electoral processes and placed number one on the ballot paper.
In a follow-up to the Central Committee’s decision, the Ashanti Regional Secretary of the CPP, Abdul Salam explained that, Mr. Boakye-Yiadom decided to personally bear all the cost of his candidature having received the approval of the party’s hierarchy and therefore expressed disappointment in the turn of events.
“It was National who asked us to bring a candidate. We wouldn’t have done anything if the national had not asked us to do certain things. They asked us to bring a candidate and it was communicated to the Regional Chairman, Chairman, Chairman Kalo, who also communicated it to the Regional Executives and they brought Ebenezer. We vetted him and we wrote a Recommendation letter”, Mr. Salam explained.
On the consequences of the withdrawal decision on Mr. Boakye-Yiadom and the party, the Regional Secretary predicted that CPP could lose grounds in the Kumawu constituency and demoralize the aspirant in next year’s electioneering and therefore entreated the Central Committee of the party to rescind its decision.
He noted, “We know he is disappointed, but he should know that challenge in politics. Moving forward, going into the general elections, he may even go unopposed since now the party has already accepted him.”
When contacted, the Ashanti Regional Director of the Electoral Commission, Benjamin Banor-Bioh confirmed receipt of the CPP’s withdrawal letter.
According to the Regional Elections Director, Mr. Boakye-Yiadom candidature was brought to the Commission with an official letter from the Party hence the approval for him to contest for which he took part in the balloting.
Mr. Banor said, however, that, with the sudden decision by the party, the EC’s programmes and processes will not be affected.