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Tell Ghanaians how much it cost to stage ‘needless’ Assin North by-election – Solidaire to government

Solidaire Ghana, a policy think tank has challenged the government to provide details of the expenditure the state made in the organization of the Assin North by-election.

In a statement signed by its Executive Director, Benjamin Essuman, the think tank observed that the state incurred huge losses in holding what it describes as ‘needless and avoidable’ elections in Assin North.

According to the think tank, it is imperative that the government provides detailed account of the cost of the elections as it will help Ghanaians appreciate the gravity of the situation relative to the holding of by-elections.

The election which took place on June 27 resulted in the victory of James Gyakye Quayson, the candidate from the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC), beating his main contender, Charles Opoku, from the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP).

Solidaire Ghana also appealed to the media, academia, traditional authorities, civil society, and the general public to join the call for accountability.

In the elections held on June 27, 2023, James Gyakye Quayson of the National Democratic Congress floored the New Patriotic Party’s Charles Opoku.

Quayson won with 17,245 votes representing 57.56 percent of the valid votes cast with the New Patriotic Party candidate, Charles Opoku coming second with 12,630 votes representing 42.15 percent.

The Liberal Party of Ghana (LPG) candidate Sefenu Bernice Enyonam got 87 votes representing 0.29 percent.

The polls were however marred with allegations of vote buying against the governing New Patriotic Party.

Reports from various news outlets indicate that the leading members of the governing party distributed monies to voters in a bid to sway their votes.

Read the statement below

In solidarity with the people of Assin North in particular and the Ghanaian taxpayer in general who had been taken through long periods of uncertainties, lack of representation and losses, we seek to encourage Ghanaians to demand, that the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP) government, under the auspices of President Nana Addo Danquah Akufo-Addo, do account to the nation, the cost incurred by the state in engineering and conducting the recently-held Assin North by-election.

This demand for accountability emanates from the fact that Ghanaians in exercise of their free choice, voted for the NPP government to superintend over the affairs of state and bring about development in the lives of the people, as freely promised to do by the President and his team, and more importantly to do so in judicious manner.

Therefore, it is important for the media, academia, traditional authorities, civil society and all concerned players in the nation building effort, to demand publication of the cost incurred in the conduct of such a forced electioneering exercise, in order to help inform the Ghanaian taxpayer and help determine, whether the taxes paid to the government have been put to a good use or not.

Besides the manpower lost in three weeks over the electioneering campaign, it is our considered view, that the cost born by the Electoral Commission of Ghana, the Ghana Police Service, the Ghana Armed Forces, and all other state institutions including the office of the President and Vice President, in the conduct of this Assin North by-election, runs into millions of cedis, which the Ghanaian taxpayer has paid for.

These financial losses, are in addition to the painful and sad demise of an Assin North-based woman who was a wife and a mother of four kids. The losses recorded as a result of this completely avoidable by-election, are indeed irrecoverable.

The next logical process is for Ghanaians to get to know the amount spent to conduct this by-election to enable us determine for ourselves, if this NPP-engineered exercise was worth our money.

In a cash-crunch economy like that of Ghana’s, it is unconscionable if not wicked, for a ruling party to pursue a matter that leads to huge cost to the taxpayer, and yields no dividends towards the lives of the people.

The social contract established with the ruling politicians, after years of campaigning and convincing the same Ghanaian taxpayer to vote accordingly, is to better manage the resources of state, and bring about development in the lives of the people. The mandate given to the NPP government is not to dissipate the inadequate public resources in pursuit of the partisan interest of the NPP. That is not what the people of Ghana signed on to when we went to the polls to elect the government in 2016 and 2020.

Ghanaians must have the opportunity to look at the amounts of money spent on Assin North and ask ourselves, if the taxpayers money spent by the state in pursuing the re-elected James Gyekye-Quayson, could not have been put to a better use in providing a medical facility for some deprived communities, or to fix broken bridges in the countryside, or build six-unit classroom blocks to rescue some schools under trees that we ingloriously have in abundance in this country.

The choice by the ruling NPP government, not to do any of such projects mentioned above, for the electorates to enjoy, but opt to invest much-scarce state resources in creating this by-election situation, must become an open book for the next generation of politicians to learn from.

The lessons learnt from this wasteful exercise must guide future leadership in this country, not to repeat such a venture. This is a sure way of learning from the mistakes of the past, and chatting a better way forward for Ghana to avoid such wasteful expenditures, refocus our resources to develop our communities faster and become a developed nation in our lifetime.

We must all help posterity to judge any benefits that this country gained, in removing from Parliament and thereby forcing a by-election, a man whose personal files and citizenship documentations on the day of his first election on 7th December, 2020, did not change, and remained so, even on the day of his second election on 27th June, 2023. Conscience is a superior judge than any law as claimed to have been properly interpreted by any court, but in the meantime, the Ghanaian taxpayer deserves to know the damage done to the public purse in creating and conducting this needless and avoidable by-election.





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