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Ayawaso West Wuogon electoral violence is regrettable – Lydia Alhassan

Madam Lydia Seyram Alhassan, the Minister-designate for Sanitation and Water Resources, and Member of Parliament (MP) of Ayawaso- West Wuogon, says the January 31, 2019 electoral violence at La-Bawaleshie in her constituency is regrettable.

‘The incident that happened is unfortunate. Mr Chairman, as a candidate, whose focus was to win an election and support the voiceless, the underprivileged, and support my Constituency, my intention of doing that was not to win through violence.’

She said this during her vetting at the public sitting of the Appointments Committee of Parliament in Accra on Tuesday, in her response to a question by Dr Cassiel Ato Baah Forson, the Minority Leader.

He wanted to find out from Madam Alhassan, who is the immediate past First Deputy Majority Whip, whether she had any regrets concerning what happened at La-Bawaleshie and if so, what measures were being put in place to curb future occurrences.

‘As you are aware, I was nowhere near where the incident occurred, we all remember how
I was received the first day I stepped foot into Parliament, a woman who was in pain; a woman who was grieving….’

At this point, Madam Alhassan, who was visibly emotional and teary, went silent for a few minutes.

It was then that Mr Joseph Osei-Owusu, the First Deputy Speaker and Chairman of the Appointments Committee, stepped in and urged her to take it easy; saying; ‘These are emotional matters, so take it easy’.

Afterward, she continued her response and said: ‘I’m glad there is an opportunity to bring a closure to this matter. And I would like to clear it off my chest.’

‘As you’re all aware I was nowhere near where the incident occurred and as a woman, I was touched by it. And I pray that what happened on that day should

never ever happen to any person trying to represent his or her people. Issues of violence should never happen in our elections and democratic dispensation…’

She reflected on her challenging experience on her inaugural day in Parliament and how the incident had an impact on her as a w
oman and a mother, and underscored the importance of eliminating violence during elections to foster Ghana’s democracy.

It would be recalled that electoral violence broke out at the La-Bawaleshie Polling Station on January 31, 2019, during a Parliamentary by-election, which was held following the demise of Emmanuel Kyeremanteng Agyarko, the husband of Madam Alhassan and the then MP of Ayawaso-West Wuogon.

The National Democratic Congress withdrew from the by-election following a shooting incident at the polls.

It was alleged that some masked men were caught on camera beating up civilians who did not resist arrest.

The Emile Short Commission of Inquiry was thereafter contituted by the Government to make a full and impartial inquiry into the circumstances leading to violence.

President Akufo-Addo, following a reshuffle on February 14, 2024 submitted to Parliament, for approval, the names of the new persons for appointment as Ministers and Deputy Ministers of State, by articles 78, 79 and 256, respectively,
of the Constitution.

Among the nominees who appeared before the Committee on Tuesday were Mr Andrew Egyapa Mercer, Minister-Designate for Tourism, Arts and Culture; Mr Martin Adjei-Mensah Korsah, Minister-designate, Local Government, Decentralisation, and Rural Development; Madam Ophelia Mensah Hayford, Minister-designate, Environment, Science, Technology, and Innovation and Madam Darkoa Newman, Minister-designate, Gender, Children, and Social Protection.

Source: Ghana News Agency