All is set for today’s by-election scheduled in the Kumbungu constituency of the Northern Region, the Electoral Commission has said.
According to the Northern Regional Director of the Electoral Commission, Mr Sylvester Kanyi, “everything is on course and we are set for a peaceful and fair election today.”
The Kumbungu seat became vacant after it had been abdicated by the Member of Parliament for the constituency, Alhaji Mohammed Mumuni, following his appointment as the Secretary-General of African, Caribbean and Pacific States (ACP).
Three candidates representing the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC), the Convention People’s Party (CPP) and the Progressive People’s Party’s (PPP) have so far filed their nomination papers to contest the election. They are 55-year- old Alhaji Imoro Yakubu Kakpagu of the NDC, a 61-year-old building technician, Amadu Moses Yahaya of the CPP and the (PPP) Ahmed Mansuru Mohammed, 29.
The New Patriotic Party is boycotting it just as it did to the Akatsi and Buem by-elections which were held on February 5 and 26 respectively.
According to the NPP, it was only being consistent with its decision not to participate in any by-elections whilst the 2012 Presidential dispute case was still pending at the Supreme Court.
Mr Kanyi said ballots for the polls arrived in Tamale last Saturday and would be dispatched to Kumbungu, about 15 kilometres from Tamale, early this morning.
Kumbungu is the district capital of the newly created Kumbungu district. The constituency has 74 polling stations with a voter population of 39, 478.
For the past three weeks, the three parliamentary hopefuls had criss-crossed the length and breadth of the 170 communities canvassing for the mandate of the people to represent them.
NDC’s Alhaji Kakpagu, who served as the MP for the constituency for two terms between 2004 and 2012, eventually lost his bid for a third term when he was defeated by Alhaji Mohammed Mumuni in a keenly contested primary in the run up to the 2012 elections.
The candidate, who is confident of his chances for another term in Parliament, has expressed the hope that the electorate would offer him the opportunity to serve them again.
He reminded them of his unalloyed commitment to help champion their course for accelerated development that had been his hallmark during his two previous terms in Parliament.
Alhaji Kakpagu thanked the people for their continuous loyalty to the NDC over the years and indicated that the government would never forsake them in their quest for development.
For his part, the CPP candidate, Mr Amadu also appealed to the people not to hesitate in reposing their confidence in him since he had the wherewithal to represent their interest in the August House.
He mentioned the bad nature of roads, lack of electricity supply in some communities and unemployment opportunities in the constituency as some of the challenges facing the people for which he was seeking their mandate to improve upon.
The parliamentary hopeful criticised the previous governments for their failure to tar the Tamale-Kumbungu road.
“My experience in development work over the years would greatly enable me to work with the government and non-governmental organisations to attract funding for social interventions in the Kumbungu area,” the candidate intimated.
The PPP candidate, Ahmed Mansuru, also enumerated a number of challenges confronting the area to include unemployment of the youth that was compelling them to migrate elsewhere for menial jobs with its resultant consequences.
He said as a human rights advocate, “I would champion the advancement of the vulnerable, especially women and children in the constituency.”
The candidate said as a person who had lived with the people on the ground and had them at heart, they could attest to his honesty and sincerity.
“I have demonstrated these qualities to you in all my life and think I deserve your mandate to lead you to the promise land,” he stated.
Story: Zakaria Alhassan