The opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) on Saturday conducted nationwide constituency elections to elect executives to manage the affairs of the party ahead of the 2020 general elections.
Whilst the election process was peaceful in some areas, others such as Sagnarigu in the Northern Region, Madina, Dome Kwabenya and Adentan in Greater Accra which was monitored by Graphic Online witnessed some incidents some of which led to the abrupt end of proceedings.
Victor Kwawukume reported that disorderly registers for the conduct of polls in the Dome-Kwabenya and Madina constituencies led to delays and agitations by aggrieved persons in those areas.
Presiding officers of the Electoral Commission (EC) who were manning the two constituencies said those challenges were not to be blamed on the EC.
That, they explained was because they were working strictly according to the voter’s register presented to them by the NDC party.
The officials said party executives at the constituency level told them that the register came from the region and not the constituencies.
There were several isolated incidents of intense arguments and charged comments, Kwawukume who visited both centres reported.
That notwithstanding, activities went on smoothly at the two constituencies with adequate police presence.
Madina NDC elections suspended
The National Youth Organiser of the NDC, Sidii Abubakar Musah who was overseeing the elections at Madina announced a suspension of polls after 6:30pm due to the invasion of forces believed to be groups organised by “losers” who wanted to disrupt the process.
Sidii Abubakar said so far, the polls for the positions of Women’s Organiser and Youth Organiser had been completed and based on the response from the regional team, would be opened and counted.
The ballot boxes were subsequently transported to the Madina Police Station.
At the Adentan constituency in Greater Accra, Graphic Online’s Severious Kale Dery reported that there was tension at the Islamic University College as delegates were getting impatient with the slow pace of the elections.
The situation, according to our reporter worsened with the absence of some potential voters on the voting list.
All the executives of the City of God Electoral Area were initially prevented from voting because their names were not in the register. They were however later cleared to vote following a directive from the regional office which said they should use the original list.
Apart from the absence of some potential voters in the list, some of the candidates, especially those contesting for the deputy organiser position and some others did not have their photos on the ballot paper.
The delay resulted in some of the voters abandoning the exercise citing tightness, hunger and thirst.
The incumbent constituency chairman, Martin Kwesi Addeh said the delay was a deliberate attempt to get people from his stronghold tired and leave the voting grounds to dim his chances of winning again.
From Kumasi, Daniel Kenu reported that there was three hours delay at the Cultural Centre venue where the Bantama constituency is holding its elections.
This is because party officials had to work out plans to solve accreditation challenges among delegates.
The supervising officer for the Bantama constituency, Francis Dodovi, told Graphic Online that unlike previously, accreditation of delegates must bear their names to avoid possible rigging and over voting.
Forty-five out of the 47 constituencies in the Ashanti are voting to elect new officials to lead the opposition National Democratic Congress in the next four years.
Subin and Manhyia North had their elections put on hold to sort out what party officials said was an internal matter.
Kenu further reported that after earlier infractions at the Atwima Mponua, the process has generally been peaceful.
At the Odododiodio constituency in Accra, a presidential aspirant, Mr Sylvester Mensah was at Sacred Heart School, James Town, to observe the voting, reports Sebastian Syme.
Baba Jamal prevented from voting at Ayawaso East
In the Ayawaso East constituency, former Member of Parliament for Akwatia, Baba Jamal was prevented from voting since the delegates said he was not a registered member in the constituency, reports Syme.
Cape Coast South constituency
From the Cape Coast South constituency in the Central Region, Timothy Gobahreported that voting was progressing steadily at the Centre for National Culture (CNC).
At about 2:30 pm when Graphic Online visited the centre, a lot of delegates were still in the queue waiting for their turn to cast the ballot.
The Central Regional vice chairman of the NDC, Mr Samuel Wilberforce told Graphic Online that “everything is going on without hitch or hindrance.”
He said the enthusiasm among delegates was as a result of some reforms introduced by the party.
He said the electoral college has been expanded, allowing a lot of members to vote, while pictures of all contestants displayed to ensure transparency.
“These and many innovations we have introduced to prevent acrimony and ensure sanity in the process,” he said.
No funds to organise Asante Akim South elections
The elections at the Asante Akim South constituency in Ashanti was postponed.
A notice issued by the constituency secretary read: “On behalf of the Constituency Executive Committee, we deeply regret to inform the entire members and sympathisers of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) of the postponement of the Constituency Conference slated for 24th June 2018 till further notice. The reason is solely on non availability of adequate funds to organize the Conference.”
“This decision was taken during an emergency meeting held at the party office by Constituency Executive Committee and the Aspirants yesterday 22nd June 2018. A new date will be communicated to you in due course. The inconvenience is deeply regretted,” the notice said.
From Tema East Benjamin Xornam Glover reported that confusion rocked the elections forcing the Electoral Commission officers to back out of the process.
Polls started at about 12 noon instead of the advertised 9am with the Youth and Women’s wing elections.
In the course of the elections, some members, predominantly from the Tema New Town Area, accused the party’s election committee of hijacking the voters list and cited discrimination in the voting process.
According to them, the list had been arranged in a way such that only delegates from Comminity One which is allegedly the strong hold of one of the candidates, were called to queue and vote while those from Tema New Town remained seated.
At about 5:30 pm, there were a number of agitations and chants of “no vote, no vote” by party members and sympathizers in the Assembly hall of Our Lady of Mercy Senior High School where the elections was being held.
In the ensuing melee, the Electoral Commission led by Nana Oduro Numapau suspended the process to allow the party’s Election Committee to resolve the issue.
The EC officer left the decision to continue with the elections for the party to decide.
At the time of the confusion, a little over 600 delegates out of ober 1500 expected voters had cast their ballots.
Security was also beefed up as police reinforcement was called in from the Regional Police Command to protect life and property.
Oduro Numapau said under the circunstances, and following the failure of the party to resolve the issue, the polls had to be suspended while the already cast ballots would be sent to a secured location pending the resolution of the problem.
Mr Baba Abdulai, Chairman of the NDC Tema East Constituency Elections Committee in an interview alleged that one of the candidates for the chairmanship race, Mr Garnet Dogbey triggered the protest and agitations creating misunderstanding in the hall.
Mr Abdulai said there was no basis for the allegations and that, that has been the procedure used for all elections.
Mr Dogbey was unavailable for comment at the time of filing this report as he had left the premises.