Mfantseman seat: Another widow to make political gains from husband’s death

Ophelia Hayford, Lydia Seyram Alhassan, Linda Ocloo and  Lydia Akanvariba Lamisi Ophelia Hayford, Lydia Seyram Alhassan, Linda Ocloo and Lydia Akanvariba Lamisi

The death of a spouse is supposed to be an intense period of pain, despair, sober reflection and a journey into the unknown, but this solemn moment, is currently being exploited politically by Ghanaian political parties, thus negating the respect the various cultures and ethnic groups demand for the dead, including widowhood rites.

The governing New Patriotic Party (NPP) in the Mfantseman constituency of the Central Region, is about to perfect what the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) started in 2016, by preparing Ophelia Hayford, the widow of its murdered Member of Parliament (MP) to represent the party in the 2020 parliamentary elections.

It is reported that the woman who is currently an Assistant Superintendent of Police, has submitted her resignation letter to the Ghana Police Service to enable her pursue a political dream as MP for Mfantseman constituency, even before the burial of her husband; Ekow Quansah Hayford. It is, however, unclear if she comes from the area.

The Herald has so far, countered four widows, who have either made it to Parliament or are on their way to Parliament on the ticket of both the NDC and the NPP.

It started in 2016 with the NDC, when Linda Ocloo, widow of the then parliamentary candidate for Shai-Osudoku, Desmond Ocloo, filed her nomination papers to contest for the vacant slot with the hope of picking up from where her late husband left off.

The NPP took it up from there and made a politician out of Lydia Seyram Alhassan; a businesswoman and "baby mama" of Emmanuel Kwabena Kyeremateng Agyarko, and sent her to parliament on its ticket to represent the people of Ayawaso West Wuogon Constituency in the Greater Accra Region.

In March this year, one Lydia Akanvariba Lamisi, defeated two candidates to replace her late husband, David Adakudugu, as the NDC parliamentary candidate for the Tempane Constituency in a feat that pitch the nurse against the NPP's MP and Deputy Attorney General, Joseph Dindiok Kpemka.

In the case of Mfantseman constituency, although NPP multiple media outlets, have reported that Madam Ophelia Hayford has been chosen to replace her late husband, although NPP lords in the constituency are denying the reports. reports that information available indicates a unanimous decision by the NPP to let Ophelia Hayford replace her yet-to-be-buried husband in the December polls.

Host of Asempa FM's Ekosii Sen programme, Philip Osei Bonsu is also reported to have made similar claims on Tuesday, October 13, 2020.

The late Ekow Quansah Hayford, described as a loving figure and hardworking, had on Thursday, October 8, 2020, concluded all processes before he was murdered on Friday, October 9, 2020, which was coincidentally the last day for the filing of all forms. Based on this backdrop, the Central Regional branch of the NPP has written officially to the Electoral Commission (EC) for an extension to allow them file her nomination.

This falls in line with provisions made by the EC, which states in Section 4 of the Public Elections Regulations 2020, C.I. 127, that: "Where at the close of nominations, but before the election, one of the candidates dies, a further period of 10 days shall be allowed for nominations."

The mother of two and LLB holder is expected to be presented to the national executive of the NPP for approval before her details are presented to the EC.

But other party sources, have said although there is grassroots support for Mrs. Hayford, no official decision has been taken on who will replace the legislator in the upcoming polls.

Speaking in an interview with Citi News, the First Vice Chairman of the Party, Yaw Berchie Nuako, indicated that party executives are making consultations and will soon decide on who will lead the party after the one-week celebration of the late MP.

"It is not true. Nothing like that has come out. When the President came here yesterday [Monday], the grassroots of the party were chanting 'no wife, no vote,' but the party has not decided on who is going to replace the MP. We are making consultations. I can tell the public to wait until Thursday, where we will endorse the person who is supposed to replace Quansah Hayford," he said.

Ekow Quansah Hayford, was gunned down by armed men on the Mankessim – Abeadze road in the Central Region while returning home from a community engagement in the constituency last Thursday.

Following news of his killing, the police hierarchy has dispatched a specialized team of investigators to the region to help resolve the crime and arrest the culprits.

President Akufo-Addo, has also assured the family of his support to ensure that the perpetrators of the crime are brought to book, while the deceased MP is given a befitting burial.

Meanwhile, security for MPs has received a boost in the wake of the legislator's killing.

The Interior Minister, Ambrose Dery on Tuesday, October 13, 2020, said 200 police officers will be added to the parliamentary security team to protect parliamentarians until the December 2020 elections.