Baba Yara Stadium is now ready for CAN 2008.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

The Presidential Run off

Voting in the Ashanti region got off to a peaceful start on Sunday with long winding queues seen at many polling stations for the second round of presidential elections when the polls opened in the morning.
However by midday, the police had arrested a total of 15 people for various electoral offences including malpractice, impersonation, violence, creation of confusion and preventing some eligible voters from casting their ballot.
A 72-year old man whose name was only given as Asare was arrested for allegedly placing a material on a stamp pad at one of the polling stations at Atimatim in the Kwabre West constituency.
The act was detected by one voter who saw that a material had been placed on the stamp pad which caused thumb prints on the ballot paper to appear faint.
As soon as the act was detected, many voters came to complain that they realised that their thumbprints were faint on the ballot papers even though they pressed hard on the ink pad.
The 72-year old man, who was hanging around the polling station, was later identified as the person who caused the act and was arrested by the crowd who attempted to lynch him but for the timely intervention of the security personnel.
There was a resultant confusion at the polling station which caused voting to be halted for a while until calm prevailed at the place following a security re-enforcement.
When the 72-year-old man was arrested, it was detected that he had an observer’s card, which he told the police that it was given to him by regional officials of the National Democratic Congress (NDC).
The Electoral officials however detected that the observer’s card he was holding was a fake one.
Inspector Yusif Mohammed Tanko, Ashanti Regional Police Public Relations Officer confirmed to the Daily Graphic that the man had been taken into custody for further investigations but declined to give his name.
In another incident, an electoral official at the Kodie Methodist Primary Polling Station also in the Kwabre West constituency was arrested for malpractice.
The official was said to have stamped a ballot paper on the position of the NDC candidate before giving it to a voter to cast the ballot.
When the voter saw the anomaly, he alerted other officials and the security personnel and the said official was arrested.
In other instances, persons who were said to be creating confusion and preventing some eligible voters to cast their vote were also arrested at various areas.
Among those arrested for creating confusion at polling stations included political party agents.
Inspector Tanko told the Daily Graphic that after such agents were arrested, they told the police that they were being vigilant in their supervisory roles and by doing so, some people caused the police to arrest them, alleging that they were creating confusion.
The Public Relations Officer said the police were investigating all those cases to find out how authentic the complaints were.
There had been reports of some arrests at Kofiase in the Mampong area, where persons who were said to have attempted to snatch ballot boxes were also arrested by the police by the time of filing this report.
Again there was a report of the arrest of another EC official at Kumawu for stamping ballot papers before giving it out to voters to cast their vote but the Police Public Relations officer was unable to confirm it as of the time of filing this report.
At Ashanti New Town, near the Abbey’s park a youngman was beaten up by the crowd. It was alleged that he was hanging around the area with intentions of wanting to snatch a ballot box. He was also handed over to the police.
Inspector Tanko said the Police were closely monitoring the situation.
Earlier in the morning queues started forming at various polling stations at dawn long before election officials arrived with the electoral materials.
In areas such as Santasi, Fankyenebra , Atasemanso, Adiembra, Patasi, South Suntreso and Kwadaso all in the Nhyiaeso constituency where the Daily Graphic visited around 4am the scene was no different as there were long queues at the polling stations.
The voters explained that they anticipated a higher turnout and that they wanted to be among the first people to cast their ballot so as to be able to go out and do other businesses for the day.
Jones Bosomtwe, a resident of Anyinam said he had to travel outside Kumasi hence he decided to wake up early to cast his ballot.
Like Jones many voters also said they were up early in other to avoid waiting in queue for longer hours before casting their ballot during the day.
In all the areas visited voters joined queues in calm atmosphere and waited for their turn when the polls opened at 7am.
Officials of the Electoral Commission arrived at the polling stations on time and all electoral materials were readily available for a smooth process.
Madam Georgina Nyantakyiwaa of Fankyenebra prayed for a free and fair exercise so as to enable the candidates accept the outcome of the verdict.
Mrs Ama Amofa of Santasi said that “God chooses a leader” and therefore called on the two candidates to accept the outcome of the verdict.
“We should be able to accept the outcome of the verdict provided it is free and fair”, she said.
The Asantehene, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II and the Asantehemaa, Nana Afua Serwaa Kobi Ampem cast their ballot at the Manhyia Palace polling station at 11:45am.
Kumasi was generally calm as the voting got underway.
At the K.O. Osei Assibey Polling station, a total of 600 out of 691 persons on the electoral roll had cast their ballot by 1pm.
At Asokore Mampong, Asawase and Aboabo all in the Asawase constituency voters patiently waited in queue to cast their ballot peacefully as well as Ashanti New Town in the Manhyia constituency.
By 9am, the queue at the KTI polling station had diminished. 150 voters out of a total registered voter population of 722 had cast their ballot by then.