In Local Govt Elections
The New Patriotic Party (NPP) presidential candidate for the 2016 general election, Nana Akufo-Addo, yesterday boycotted the district assembly election conducted by the Electoral Commission (EC) to elect leaders at the local government level. It appears, his focus is only on the Presidential elections, and not local government democracy.
The Herald’s scouts, stationed at the Rock of Ages polling station at Kyebi, the hometown of the 72-year old politician in the Eastern Region, informed this paper that, the NPP presidential candidate, did not show up to cast his vote for grassroot democracy participation.
Also absent was his running mate for the 2016 election, Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia, he also stayed away from Wale Wale in the West Mamprusi District of the Northern Region, where he has been casting his vote. He is in America, for a party event meant to raise cash. With him on the trip is Sammy Awuku, the National Youth Organizer of his party.
But President John Mahama, travelled yesterday afternoon and voted in his hometown; Bole in the Northern Region.
Vice President Kwesi Amissah –Arthur, who voted at the Accra High School Electoral area, urged people to go out and vote.
Nana Addo, who votes at a polling station number, E190702, left voters and party supporters and the media especially, disappointed, when he and his handlers, failed to show up to vote in the election. This paper’s sources, say many of the supporters, as well as polling station officers, who were stationed at the centre, expecting to catch at a glimpse of the withering politician, were very much disappointed for him not showing up.
An avowed supporter of the opposition NPP told The Herald’s scouts in Kyebi, he was expecting to see his flagbearer vote, so as to whip up support for the party’s members contesting the election, but he was unpleasantly surprised.
Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia, also did not participate in the process. This paper gathered that, the ex- Deputy Bank of Ghana (BoG) Governor was in America seeking funds for next year’s campaign. The economist turned politician, is expected back home today, September 2, 2015.
It will be recall that, it was a member of the NPP and Member of Parliament (MP) for Efutu, Alex Afenyo-Markin, acting as a lawyer for a supposed aggrieved aspirant of the district assembly election, which led to the cancelation of the entire process by a court in Accra and rescheduled to yesterday. The nation lost some GHC327M in the botch election.
Bole, the hometown of President Mahama, was almost turned into a tourist site, as people thronged the polling station centre of the president to catch a glimpse of him going through the exercise.
President Mahama, spent time to interact with some of his father’s kith and kin after casting his vote.
He had been their MP for 12 years, until his nomination as running mate to the late President, John Evans Atta-Mills in 2008, then the Presidential Candidate of the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC).
Vice President, Kwesi Amissah-Arthur, yesterday morning casted his vote at the Accra High School Polling Centre for the district- level elections, which started around 7 am and ended at 5 pm.
The Vice President, arrived at the polling station at 10.30 am and went through the relevant formalities and casted his vote.
He described the District Assembly elections as the most important election at the community level.
He explained that, people at the local level, know what is needed in their various communities. So that their elected members can also push parliament for facilities and their importance at the community level, hence the need for people to come out and vote.
Voters including, the Vice President, underwent a biometric verification exercise by the electoral officers, before casting the ballots for their choice of candidates.
Speaking later to the media, Amissah-Arthur, said voting was a civic responsibility, and called on voters to come out and cast their vote.
At the time of casting his vote, only eight people had voted out of 460 registered voters at the Polling Station.
Media reports across the country, described district assembly elections as characterised by violence, assault and demonstrations in various parts of the country.
A polling agent at the Bimbisec polling centre in the Nanumba North District of the Northern Region, was slapped by a voter when he tried to stop him from voting twice.
Joy News correspondent, Haruna Yusif Wumpuni, reports that Tahidu Aremeyaw, stopped Adam Hanan, from voting for his friend after he had cast his ballot.
But Adam, did not find this funny. He demanded that, he be allowed to vote and gave the polling agent a heavy slap for consistently barring him from voting again.
There was no security agent present at the polling station at the time the incident occurred.
In the Western Region, residents staged a protest against the elections.
The residents of Kansaworado in Sekondi-Takoradi are angered by the last-minute disqualification of one of the aspirants, which according to them, came with no tangible reason.
The aspiring assembly member, Nana Adjei, is contesting three others, Mathew Kweku Adams, Atopetu Kobina, and Emmanuel Ackon.
The residents harassed voters who turn to cast their vote and burning car tyres at the polling centre.
Security officials from the rapid deployment force were later sent to the polling station to bring the situation under control.
As of 11am, four hours after polls opened, only five people were able to cast their vote.
Also, turn out at the various polling stations in the area is generally low, but electoral officials, were hopeful that things would improve before close of polls.
The situation is not different at the Kwabre East district in Ashanti Region.
Security officials there, had to intervene to disperse angry voters who besieged the Assembly office following the suspension of voting at the Kenyasi West electoral area.
Joy News’ Erastus Asare Donkor, was at the polling station and reported that EC officials, had decided to suspend the polls, because they noticed an anomaly on the ballot papers and needed to print new ones.
But the residents did not take kindly to this explanation. According to some of the aspirants, they had spent a lot of money to cook and prepare for the elections and do not understand why it should be postponed.
The security services, stepped in and calmed nerves. At the West Mamprusi district in the Northern region, voting was been suspended as names, positions and pictures of candidates on the ballot papers have been misrepresented.
In the Upper East regional capital Bolgatanga, the election was put on hold, because of heavy rains.
Correspondent Albert Sore, reported that several polling stations sited under trees in the municipality have had to be relocated to prevent the destruction of electoral materials. At 1pm, the rains subsided and voting resumed, but Albert reported that turnout was extremely low.
Turnout across the country was generally low. This has been attributed to the low publicity prior to the polls.