Some constituents within the Fomena Constituency in the Ashanti Region have expressed disappointment over the decision of the Speaker of Parliament, Professor Aaron Mike Oquaye for declaring the Fomena seat vacant.
Prof. Oquaye on Saturday, November 7, 2020, declared the seat vacant after the Member of Parliament (MP) for the constituency, Andrew Amoako Asiamah, insisted on contesting the upcoming polls as an independent candidate.
The Speaker made this known when the chairperson of the Electoral Commission addressed MPs on their state of preparedness for the 2020 polls.
On October 13th, 2020, the NPP wrote to the Speaker of Parliament to trigger the provisions of Article 97 (1)g for the seat in the house to be declared vacant.
“With all intents and purposes, he is no longer a member of the party. He has pronounced himself publicly as an independent and has filed his papers to compete against the party in his official candidate as an independent on 7th December 2020. Having forfeited the membership of the party on whose ticket he was elected, to parliament, the operative language of the constitution is that, he shall – which is mandatory – vacate his seat in Parliament”, Prof. Oquaye said on Saturday, November 7, 2020.
This, some residents in the area particularly those in Akrokerri have vowed to mobilize votes for the independent candidate.
In a Citi News interview, they indicated that they will vote for the independent candidate, Andrew Amoako Asiamah based on his track record.
One of the disappointed party members said the actions by the Speaker of Parliament does not deter them.
“We are still rallying behind the MP, and we support him for contesting the seat as an independent candidate because we have to tell the government that what the chairman is doing over here we don’t agree with and things have to change.”
“They have taken us for granted for so long. The seat being declared vacant is politically motivated, but we still want him as the MP, and come December 7, we will vote for him massively.”
Another party member also said: “There were some rankling between the constituency chairman and the sitting Member of Parliament, and they (party executives) couldn’t resolve it at both constituency and regional level. We are going for the independent candidate, and we will vote for him.”
Speaker has no right to declare Fomena seat vacant
Meanwhile, a US-based Ghanaian legal practitioner, Professor Kwazu Asare has said Prof. Oquaye has no authority to declare the Fomena Seat vacant.
Prof. Kwaku Asare contends that Mr. Asiamah is still legally a Member of Parliament.
“I choose to ride on article 99(1) of the constitution. The article says the high court shall have jurisdiction to hear and determine any question whether a Member of Parliament or the seat of a member has become vacant, not the speaker, parliament, politician, not political parties. The question itself is a legal question, not a political one.”
“If you leave it to politicians, it is going to become partisan because if you have a speaker who is NPP declined, he will use his power to vacate NDC members and vice versa,” he reiterated his point.