Five parliamentary candidates seeking to win the by-election for the vacant parliamentary seat at Buem Constituency in the Volta Region on February 26, 2013 are all geared up for the event.

They include Daniel Kwasi Ashiamah, a 43-year-old marketer who is contesting on the ticket of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) and Adams Darko-Boateng, a 29-year-old teacher at the Nurriyah Islamic Basic School at Jasikan running on the People’s National Convention (PNC) ticket.

The others are Ellis Akoto-Ade, a 63-year-old retired teacher for the Progressive People’s Party (PPP), Alhaji Muniru, 38, also a teacher, for the National Vision Party (NVP) and Nelson Asafo, a 46-year old businessman running on the Convention People’s Party (CPP) ticket. There are no independent or female candidates in the race.

The electorate’s expectations are high as the date for the polls draws close. The by-election will take place in all 84 polling stations in the constituency.

The Buem Constituency, located in a valley along the Ghana-Togo ranges, stretches from the border of the Republic of Togo and the Hohoe-North Constituency in the East to the Akan and the Biakoye constituencies on the west. The area holds about 60 per cent of the region’s supply of cocoa. However, it is plagued by a lack of good roads and potable water, among other social amenities.

Buem voters will vote for a new candidate in this by-election following the sudden death of the former Member of Parliament for the area, Henry Ford Kamel, who passed away on December 25 last year at the Jasikan District Hospital. The former MP, who was also the Volta Regional Minister, will be buried on February 23, 2013 in his hometown of Guama.

While the constituency has predominately been an NDC stronghold since 1992, it cannot be said that this contest will be an easy race for the NDC because the previous MP’s promise to solve the unemployment situation in the area remains unfulfilled.

In the last election, Mr Kamel (who was the incumbent) polled about 19,000 of the votes, followed by New Patriotic Party (NPP) candidate Francis Asuka Boakye with about 5,000 votes, while the CPP polled 850 votes and the PNC placed fourth.

According to Mr Darko-Boateng of the PNC, it would be a big mistake for the electorate to vote the NDC into power again since its MPs have failed the region consistently after holding the mandate to lead the constituency for 20 years.

He disclosed that he has intensified his house-to-house campaign and expressed the hope that this strategy will make an impact.

He promised to empower the youth and raise the standard of education should he be given the nod. He appeared sure that the electorate had learnt its lesson and would decide on February 26, 2013.

Mr Ashiamah of the NDC promised the electorate that he would make good use of any funds and continue with the late MP’s unfinished work of transforming the area.

He also promised to involve the people in the decision making process.

Mr Akoto-Ade said education is at the top on his agenda and that he would also help small-scale farmers to address the unemployment challenges facing the youth in the area as well as increase the production of cocoa.

Mohammed Shani Abukari, Jasikan District Officer of the Electoral Commission, assured voters that the by-election would be transparent and peaceful.

He said the Electoral Commission had posted notices of polls throughout the constituency since last Saturday and party vans have been vigorously campaigning for their candidates.