LOW TURN-OUT RECORDED AT DISTRICT ASSEMBLY ELECTIONS

Vice President Amissah-Arthur casting his ballot

Vice President Amissah-Arthur casting his ballot

The District Assemblies’ Elections recorded an awful turnout throughout the country, despite the publicity given to the event.

When the Ghanaian Times visited some of the polling stations few hours to the close of voting, some areas had as low as five per cent turnout, reports Yaw Kyei.

While some areas had a handful of people casting their votes at the time of the visit, electoral officers sat idle, waiting for voters to turn up, in most of the polling stations visited.

President John Mahama yesterday voted at this hometown, Bole, in the Northern Region during the ongoing district assembly elections.

Vice President Kwesi Amissah-Arthur also cast his ballot at the Accra High Senior High School in the Klotey-Korley sub-metro around 10. 40 am, and deplored the lukewarm attitude towards the District and Unit Committee elections.

He called on Ghanaians to show enthusiasm in the district level electoral local governance.

The Accra High Senior High School, is one of the 17 centres in the sub-metro.

The Vice President reminded Ghanaians of their civic responsibility to participate fully in the exercise.

At the Royal Bible Church Polling Station, under the Awudome Electoral Area, a little over 10 per cent of the registered voters had cast their votes as at 2:30pm, with less than three hours to end the polls.

The Presiding Officer, James Brown, said only 40 out of the 300 names on the voters’ register, had voted and attributed the low turn out to the late start of the exercise.

He said although voting was expected to commence at 7am to enable workers to vote before going to work, the exercise started after 8am due the delay in receiving the electoral materials.

That aside, Mr. Brown said the polling station had not recorded any challenge as at the time of the visit.

The Cables and Wireless 1 and 2 Primary School Polling Station at Bubuashie had about 8.5 per cent of turnout.

Sixty two out of the 729 names on the voters’ register had exercised their franchise, with less than three hours to the close of voting.

The situation was even worse at the Christian Preparatory School Polling Station under the E.A West Darkuman Electoral Area at the Ablekuma North District.

At the time of the visit, the electoral officers were sitting idle, with boredom written on their faces, as they waited behind their desks for the voters.

As at 3pm, a little over 20 people, out of the 538 names on the voters’ register had casted their votes, said Christopher Ayideinu, the Presiding Officer.

The only places where the number of voters had increased a little were the ACC Primary School 1 and 2 under the Gbemomo Electoral Area and the AMA Revenue Office under the Awudome Electoral Area, both at the Okaikoi District.

While the ACC Primary School had 127 voters’ turnout, out of the 606 names on the voters register, representing about 20.9 per cent turnout, the AMA Revenue Office had 100 people, out of 600 expected voters, had exercised their franchise, representing 16.7 per cent turnout as at 3pm.

The presiding officers in almost all the areas attributed the late start of the exercise to the delay in the distribution of electoral materials to the polling stations.

Aside the low turnout and delayed in the commencement of the exercise, process was generally peaceful in all the areas visited with security presence.

The nationwide exercise took off in 6,135 electoral areas throughout the country, in accordance with Chapter 20 of the Constitution.

A total of 8,938 candidates, made up of 17,783 male and 1,012 female, are vying for positions as assembly members.

Also 43,584 candidates competed for positions in the unit committees of the various district assemblies.

From Nyive, Alberto Mario Noretti, reports that widespread apathy, lack of enthusiasm and striking indifference among voters characterised the District Assembly elections at the various polling stations in the Ho Municipality.

Officials of EC who turned up at the stations well ahead of 7.00am with the voting materials, were virtually on holidays as voters spent a better of the morning away from the stations.

In the border town of Nyive which recorded a comparatively higher voter turn-out, 112 people out of the registered 684 cast their votes as at 10.40 am.

At nearby Tanyigbe, 48 voters out of the registered 329 exercised their franchise as at 10.24 am.

The story was not different at the L.A. Primary School at Akoefe-Atorkor where only 18 of the registered 585 voters had cast their vote as at 10 am.

Meanwhile, in Ho, only 38 out of the 347 on the register voted as at midday, while 115 out 1,022 voted at Temporal Booth Polling Station at about the same tune.

There was no reported untoward incident at any of the stations at the time of going to press.

The MCE, Madam Fafa Afua Adinyira who toured some of the polling stations, commended voters, EC officials and security personnel for maintaining the peace at the polling stations.

From Bolgatanga Ibrahim A. Mohammed, reports that a total number of 95 candidates contested for the 37 seats in the Bolgatanga Municipal Assembly in the Upper East Region in yesterday’s district level elections.

Mr. Oscar Apemah-Baah, the Bolgatanga Municipal Director of the Electoral Commission who disclosed this to The Ghanaian Times in Bolgatanga, number of 266 candidates were also contesting in the unit committee elections.

According to him, his outfit had employed 673 people as electoral staff for the elections.

In a related development, a 9 am to 12.45 pm downpour in the Bolgatanga municipality affected attendance at the polls adversely.

Voting in yesterday’s district assembly elections within the Accra Metropolis was chararacterised by a low turnout and apathy reports Edem Mensah-Tsotorme

Though the election was peaceful, a few confrontations were recorded some of the electoral areas.

This came to the fore during a tour of some polling stations by the Chief Executive of the Accra Metropolitan Assembly Alfred Okoe Vanderpuije who assisted them with some cartons of mineral water.

The areas visited include, Labour College, Independence School compound, Bukom, City Engineers, Ablekuma South and Central.

In all those areas, few people had cast their vote, as at the visit in the morning.

The atmosphere at the polling stations was peaceful with the exception of Hampstead School at Ablekuma South, where a group of men who wanted to snatch the ballot boxes were prevented from doing so.

This degenerated into confusion which was amicably resolved by a police re-enforcement team.

Following this, the Dansonman Divisional Police Commander, ACP Kojo Tabi confirmed to the Ghanaian Times that two of the suspects were arrested and sent to the Korle-Bu Police Station.

Mr Vanderpuije, briefing the media, expressed appreciation for the swift response of the police to the situation.

He wished all the contestants in the elections well.

Lawrence Vomafa-Akpalu reports from the La Nkwantanang Madina constituency that, some polling stations visited recorded low voter turnouts.

At RC Primary A at Teiman 127 out 692 voted as at 2.30pm while at the RC Primary B 113 out of 680 was also recorded at the same time. At the La Nkwantanang D/A JHS number 1 A, 121 out of 817 voted as at 3pm,

The number 1, B polling station recorded 105 out of 1021, while number 2, A recorded 43 out of 497.

Julius Yao Petetsi reported that hundreds of Ghanaians yesterday turned up at the various polling stations across the country to cast their ballots in the District Assembly and Unit Committee elections.

The elections, however, were not held in the Lower Manya Krobo, Nkoranza North and South Districts as well as Dichemso Electoral Area in the Eastern, Brong Ahafo and Ashanti regions respectively.

Whiles the polls in the Manya Krobo District was suspended because the assembly members were yet to serve their mandatory four year period, the exercise was put on hold in the Nkoranza North and South districts because of security reasons after persistent demonstrations over the closure of a micro finance company in the area.

The election, which was supposed to be held December last year, had been delayed due to legal actions brought against the Electoral Commission (EC) by disgruntled candidates, amongst other things.

When The Ghanaian Times visited some polling stations in the Okpoi Gonno electoral area, in the Ledzokuku-Krowor Municipal assembly in the Greater Accra Region, voting was going on in calm atmosphere at 7am.

At the Bask Academy polling stations A & B, three EC officials at each table were at hand to guide the few anxious voters who were in a ‘peaceful’ queue to cast their ballots.

Before the voters could cast their ballots, their names were sorted out in the register, scanned before their fingers were placed on the biometric device for authentication before stamped and signed ballots papers were issued out to them to cast their ballots.

What, however, was not clear from the observation of The Ghanaian Times was an apparent inadequate election officials and shortage of materials as only two stamp pads were available at the two polling stations to serve the over 1,000 voters expected to vote at the station and electoral officials played additional roles to ensure the process was fast.

Though agents of the nine contesting candidates were also around to ensure that the polls were conducted in a transparent manner, the candidates came around, from time-to-time, to ascertain the situation on the ground.

The security personnel posted to that polling station, after casting his ballot was no where to be found at the time of this paper’s visit.

The Presiding Officer at the station, Daniel Adu, speaking to the Times said they had not encounted any problem at the time of filling this report.

He said as compared to the last district level elections, the turnout would surpass the previous polls.

“As you can see, the turn out already looks impressive so by 3 pm, we are expecting to see more people come here to vote”, he said.

The presiding officer at the ICGC polling station, Innocent Duah, said all was well but “our only challenge is how the names have been arranged. They haven’t been sorted out alphabetically so we are going through some difficulties so we have called for a sorted out register to make our work less difficult.”

At the Belfort JHS polling stations A & B, the polls delayed from the beginning because electoral materials arrived at the station at about 8 am.

The electorate, who waited patiently for the officials, at the time of the visit, queued to cast their ballots.

The Presiding Officer, John Leo Mensah, said the process at the time of the visit was troubled free.

He said the officials could be over stretched during the course of the period because “they were few.

He said only two ink pads had been provided to the polling stations with over 2000 registered voters expected to take part in the national exercise.

Francis Asamoah Tuffour reports that voting at the Ayawaso Central Constituency was generally low.

At the Royal Accountancy Academy school polling centre ‘B’, 56 out of 912 people in the voters register had their votes as at 11:55 am whereas at the Centre ‘A’ 67 out of 1,025 cast their ballot as of11: 59 am.

The Presiding officers, Mr Felix Doku and Ms. Gifty Bonsu, expressed concerned about the low voter turnout but they were hopeful that the number could increase by close of voting time. Voting, they said did not start early as expected.

The Presiding officer at the Rainbow Preparatory School at Accra New Town, Grace Debrah, told The Ghanaian Times that 38 out of 478 people voted as of 12: 01 pm.

At the Accra New Town Post Office polling centre 1 ‘A’, 37 people out of 689 in the voter register cast their vote as of 12:08 pm, at the Post Office polling Centre ‘1’, 40 out of 560 people cast their vote whereas at the Post Office polling station ‘2’, 18 out of 722 people cast their vote.

The presiding officers, Messrs Kwame Owusu Boateng, Samuel Twumhene-Akuffo and Cephas Agbeko, expressed worry about the low turn out

At the Accra New Town Experimental JSS 1 ‘A’ polling centre, 37 out of 640 in the voter register cast their vote as of 12: 30 pm whereas at the Kpehe Roman Catholic polling Centre 67 out of 1,217 people cast their ballot as of 12:20 pm.

The Presiding Officer at the Kpehe Roman Catholic polling centre, Mr. Saint John Tetteh attributed the low turn out to low publicity in the mass media and the non-use of Information Services Department vans which hitherto were used in the past.

He noted that apart from some voters deciding not to vote, the ‘dumsor’ aggravated the situation since some people probably had not gotten enough information about the elections particularly in the media and suggested massive advertisement in the future.

Voting in the Western Region was nearly marred, as some supporters of the incumbent assemblymember at Kansaworodo, the Essikado-Ketan electoral area. Nana Agyei, yesterday besieged the Roman Catholic Primary School East and West Polling stations, and violently prevented other voters from exercising their franchise reports clement Adzei Boye, Kansaworodo.

The incensed supporters of Agyei did not understand why he was barred by the EC from contesting the elections because he was an ex-convict and claimed that, their candidate had not committed any criminal offence and should be allowed to contest in the election.

According to the Western Regional Director of the Electoral Commission (EC), Mr. Stephen Opoku-Mensah, a Takoradi court recently, jailed Agyei one week for his involvement in some violent acts in the community. The court also fined him for the offence, and, therefore, legally, did not qualify to contest in the District Level Election. His name was therefore been crossed out.

“We have seen the judgment and we will follow the current processes and go by it,” he explained adding that, so long as voting was ongoing in other polling stations, the EC would declare the results in accordance with the law, after 5pm.

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