Professor of Political Science at the University of Ghana, Ransford Gyampo, has cautioned that the precedent of spouses succeeding their deceased husbands/wives as parliamentary candidates and members of parliament has the potential to make some unscrupulous persons plot murder as a means of getting selected to parliament.
Prof. Gyampo was assessing the recent selection of the widow of the late Member of Parliament for Mfrantseman, Ophelia Quansah as a replacement of her husband to represent the New Patriotic Party in the December 2020 polls, stressed on the perpetuation of such precedence.
“We must also be careful not to perpetuate this precedent. Else, very soon, some unscrupulous people who have marital issues with their spouse may be plotting murder as a means of getting selected to parliament,” he indicated.
Mr Gyampo broadening the scope of his caution further stated that “we must be in the know that the practice of asking widows to replace their dead husbands in parliament may be dangerous and soon undermine quality representation, particularly, if the only driving force to push a certain segment of the citizenry to parliament is the loss of their spouse”.
Whiles highlighting the downside of Madam Ophelia’s nomination, which he says among other things “amounts to a sheer political convenience that extols the dogmas of partisan selfishness, and disregards the interest of widows and surviving children”, Prof Gyampo also touched on what could be some of the “politically wise” aspects of the decision which includes the NPP appealing to sympathy to secure a parliamentary seat in which the party’s occupancy is not too secured going into the December polls.
“It also sacrifices our culture and customary protocols for political expedience. Widows and family members who go through such experience are denied the right of mourning their loved ones just because a group of people need a certain parliamentary seat at all costs,” he stated in part of his assessment.
He called on political parties to as part of their quest for political power, ensure that the nation is not ushered into “a regime of sacrificing timeless principles, institutions, rules, customs and traditions for political expediencies”.
The Member of Parliament for Mfantseman, Ekow Hayford Quansah, was last week murdered by suspected robbers. Following his death, the New Patriotic Party, citing popular support from the constituents, has settled on the wife of the deceased as his replacement for the upcoming elections.