….Protesting Teshie residents left in tears
Harold Lasswell, an American political scientist and a Yale University Law Professor who died on December 18, 1978, might have seen the rare scenario playing out in Ledzokuku Constituency in the Greater Accra Region and Assin North Constituency in Central Region, when he defined politics as “who gets what, when and how”.
The two constituencies are witnessing an uncommon situation in the country’s politics where the quest for additional parliamentary seats is deciding how the Akufo-Addo government prioritizes the allocation of national resources.
The people of Assin North at the 2020 December polls rejected the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP) and voted for James Gyakye Quayson of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) citing neglect and lack of development, especially roads, but in an interestingly turn of events, roads within Assin Bereku, the district capital of Assin North, are currently being repaired, just a day after the Electoral Commission (EC) slated June 27, 2023 for a by-election there.
Like the Kumawu constituency in the Ashanti Region, which also saw deplorable roads suddenly being repaired by the Akufo-Addo government as a result of a by-election, roads in the Assin North constituency, are also seeing major upgrades as a result of a by-election.
Already, the Roads and Highways Minister, Kwasi Amoako-Attah, who led the repair works in Kumawu, has already been to the Assin area inspecting roads projects there, suggesting a similar strategy was going to be used to get the constituents to vote for the NPP parliamentary candidate.
Interestingly, while the minister was in the Central Region, residents of Teshie in Accra were issuing a two-month ultimatum to the government, demanding the rehabilitation of all deplorable inner roads within the densely populated urban community.
On Tuesday, May 30, 2023, the Minister of Roads and Highways, paid a working visit to the Central Region to inspect the progress of work on some ongoing road projects.
The Ministry reports that “as part of his visit, the Minister inspected the 31.2km Assin Foso to Praso road project which is completed and ready for commissioning”.
Ahead of Mr Amoako-Attah’s visit, a video had emerged of some construction equipment said to belong to “Maripoma” with the man who did the amateur video, saying they were on their way to the Assin North, same way the company deplored its equipment to the Kumawu Constituency.
True to the man’s words, reports from Assin North, are that a fleet of heavy-duty and road construction vehicles, have flooded the constituency ahead of the by-election.
Construction engineers, have been captured in videos moving the equipment to sites in Assin Bereku within the constituency in an effort to convince the residents some of whom were seen chanting ‘away’ to the heavy-duty vehicle operators and engineers.
The Supreme Court recently ruled that James Gyakye Quayson’s election as MP for the constituency in the 2020 general election, was unconstitutional, since he held a dual-citizenship as of the time of filing to run.
The court, thus, ordered parliament to expunge his name from the roll of the legislature.
Parliament then declared the seat vacant on May 30, 2023 in line with Article 112 (5) of the Constitution, as amended.
In a statement, the EC said interested individuals who wish to run for the seat must submit their nomination forms at its Assin North District office between Monday, June 12, 2023, and Wednesday, June 14, 2023 between 9:00 am and 12:00 pm; and 2:00 pm to 5:00 pm each day.
The aspirants are to pay a filing fee of GH¢10,000. The opposition NDC is re-fielding Mr Quayson as its candidate while two aspirants; Fredrick Amoah Kyei and Charles Opoku, have picked forms in a bid to represent the governing NPP..
As the Minister was in the Assin area, residents of the Ledzokuku Constituency, in their quest for improved roads, were in the streets the same day Tuesday, May 30, 2023, demanding their fair share of development resources.
Various communities in Teshie and witnessed firsthand the deplorable condition of the roads, which poses significant challenges to both motorists and pedestrians.
According to the residents, the deteriorating condition of roads at Greda Estates, Tsuibleoo, Teshie Lascala, and other areas is severely impacting their daily commute, necessitating urgent action.
The residents have already submitted a petition to the Chief Priest of Teshie, Numoo Badu Odaan Odiapense I, highlighting the poor state of their roads.
Additionally, they have submitted a similar petition to the Municipal Chief Executive for Ledzokuku, Mordecai Quarshie. Frustrated with the lack of progress, they have expressed their intent to organize another protest if their roads are not rehabilitated within the next two months.
In their quest for improved roads, the residents took to the streets on Tuesday, May 30, 2023, demanding their fair share of development resources.
Citi News’ Kennedy Twumasi visited various communities in Teshie and witnessed firsthand the deplorable condition of the roads, which poses significant challenges to both motorists and pedestrians.
In response to the residents’ demands, the Ledzokuku Municipal Assembly has announced the immediate commencement of rehabilitation works on several inner roads in Teshie.
The Assembly has committed to rehabilitating roads in Tsuibleoo, the LEKMA to Adjorman roundabout, Fertilizer Road, and King Kortey Road as soon as possible.
Furthermore, the assembly has pledged to address the poor conditions of the inner roads in Greda Estates, Teshie Lascala, and the entire Coffee Street at Teshie once the initial rehabilitation projects are completed.
From Assin North, several residents who spoke to Accra-based Citi News, believed that the upcoming by-election has provided an opportunity to address the long-standing issue of neglected roads in Assin Bereku.
“We are not surprised that they are constructing the road. We will give thanks to James Gyakye Quayson for giving the sitting government pressure. When Jesus Christ died mankind benefited and that is the same way James Gyakye Quayson has done.
However, residents are raising questions about whether these developmental projects will continue beyond the by-election.
“But the question we want to ask is whether they will still continue with all the developmental projects even after the by-elections. Gyakye Quayson has said it already that he will give the NPP government pressure to do the needful, and so he deserves the needed applause.
“Our roads since 1996 have not been good, and it has not been any better till today. So if they are fixing our town roads it’s because of Gyake Quayson.”
The announcement of the vacancy was disclosed in a letter the Clerk of the House wrote to the EC.
“In the exercise of the power conferred and the duty imposed on the Clerk to Parliament by section 3 of the Constitution of the Republic of Ghana (Amendment) Act, 1996 (Act 527), L. CYRIL KWABENA OTENG NSIAH, Clerk to Parliament do hereby formally notify you of the occurrence of a vacancy in the Assin North Constituency necessitated by the Judgement of the Supreme Court dated 17 May 2023 vide Writ No. J1/11/2022 issued in respect of James Gyakye Quayson in the case of Michael Ankomah Nimfah vrs James Gvakve Quayson.
“The Electoral Commission of Ghana and The Attorney-General and request you to take appropriate consequential action as required by law,” parts of the letter.
A seven-member panel of the Supreme Court ordered Parliament to expunge the name of James Gyakye Quayson as a MP.
In the ruling, the apex court barred Mr Quayson from holding himself as a Member of Parliament, citinewsroom.com reports.
Mr Quayson was standing trial for counts of deceit of a public officer, forgery of a passport, knowingly making a false statutory declaration, perjury, and false declaration.
Justice Jones Victor Dotse, Justice Nene Amegatcher, Justice Mariama Owusu, Gertrude Araba Torkornoo, Justice Prof. Henrietta Mensa-Bonsu, Justice Yonny Kulendi and Justice Barbara Ackah-Yensu declared that Mr Quayson was not qualified at the time he contested the election 2020.
The State had on February 12, 2022, charged Mr. Gyakye Quayson with five counts being; deceit of a public officer, forgery of a passport, knowingly making a false statutory declaration, perjury, and false declaration.
As the trial continued in July 2022, his lawyers led by Lawyer Tsatsu Tsikata questioned the competency of the Prosecution’s First Witness, Richard Takyi-Mensah, a teacher and his subsequent tendering of his witness statements.
But, his objection was overruled by the trial Judge Justice Mary Maame Ekue Yanzu on the grounds that the witness was competent and duly admitted the witness statements and paragraphs.
Dissatisfied with the High Court’s ruling, Mr Quayson and his lawyers filed a motion at the Supreme Court seeking to quash the decision of the trial judge and order of Prohibition against the judge.