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AYAWASO WEST WUOGON BY-ELECTION: TWO-HORSE RACE ENDS IN ROUT

Politics

As widely expected, the “midterm test” in Ayawaso West Wuogon of support for the New Patriotic Party two years in to government produced a convincing win for the NPP’s candidate, Lydia Seyram Alhassan.

As widely expected, the “midterm test” in Ayawaso West Wuogon of support for the New Patriotic Party two years in to government produced a convincing win for the NPP’s candidate, Lydia Seyram Alhassan.

Provisional results show Ms Alhassan won 12,041 votes ‒ a convincing 69 per cent vote share ‒ against 5,341 votes for Delali Kwasi Brempong of the National Democratic Congress (30.5 per cent).

William Kofi Dowokpor of the Progressive People’s Party won 102 votes, while Clement Boadi of the Liberal Party of Ghana had 17.

The by-election was occasioned by the death on 21 November 2018 of Emmanuel Kyerematen Agyarko, who had held the seat since January 2013. Mr Agyarko’s partner Ms Alhassan, a committed politician in her own right, ran on a “continuity NPP” ticket.

Showdown in Bawaleshie

Voting day was marred early on when fighting broke out at the home of the NDC candidate in the Bawaleshie part of the constituency and hooded men in National Security attire exchanged gunfire with NDC militiamen.

Conflicting accounts variously describe allegations of a reprisal attack by NPP vigilantes and NDC scheming to cause maximum disruption on the day of an election it knew it could not win. The NDC MP for Ningo Prampram, Sam George, took to social media to claim he had been shot but his reports were soon discovered to be false.

The violence, though quickly contained, was ugly and probably contributed to a low turnout of just over 19.8 per cent. Areas on Legon campus, a crucial source of votes for the NPP in most elections in this historically pro-NPP seat, recorded turnouts of 0 per cent.

Politics watchers will be poring over analyses of the day for indicators to how the next general election in 2020 will go. NPP stalwarts were in self-congratulatory mood, arguing that the campaign shows the party is ready for 2020.

However, critics will point to the disparity between the resources the NPP devoted to fighting this crucial test and the NDC’s nonchalant attitude to the by-election from the start.