National Democratic Congress (NDC) Member of Parliament (MP) for Assin North Constituency James Gyakye Quayson, has rejected allegations that he engaged in vote-buying by doling out cash to voters during the by-election in the Constituency.
He however stated that he gave out farm implements and supplies such as weedicides and machetes to some constituents in the lead-up to the by-election. This, he said, cannot be equated to vote-buying because it is something he does irrespective of the time as support to his constituents.
“I never gave out money for votes. If I gave anything, it was logistics geared towards the needs of the people. I gave out machetes for their farms and weedicides. I don’t call that vote buying. These are items I wish I could get for them. Maybe the timing. If it’s the timing you are talking about, I don’t even think it’s a problem. Even last week, we got some Wellington Boots and weedicides from the government’s Common Fund and I went to distribute them to my constituents.
In fact, I just came back just yesterday,” he explained in an interview with Umaru Citi TV’s Umar Sanda Amadu on the station’s Face to Face program.
Mr Gyakye Quayson further noted that he was forced to hand over the farm items to the Constituents right before the June 27, 2023 by-election because the Law Courts had barred him from holding himself as an MP and he could not even interact with the people given that it could have been seen as a violation of the court’s order.
“We have to explain the process and how certain things happen. Consider an MP who had been restricted for over a year – 14 months to be precise – until the time of the by-election; April 2022 until June 2023. My engagement with them could even be perceived as breaching the law. “Don’t carry yourself as an MP,”[ the court had ordered].
And suddenly the opportunity avails itself. There was a by-election. The people had already expressed some of the things they needed. I will never give them what they don’t need [so I gave them the items they needed for their farm],” he explained.
James Gyakye Quayson won the Assin North Constituency seat on the ticket of the National Democratic Congress in 2020. But after much legal action, his election was invalidated by the Supreme Court in May 2023 because, according to the apex Court, he was a dual citizen at the time he filed to contest.
In the June 27, 2023 by-election, Mr Quayson won the seat again with an impressive 17,245 +57.56%) as against 12,630 votes (42.15%) polled by Charles Opoku of the New Patriotic Party (NPP).