Election observers from the Centre for Democratic Development (CDD) Ghana have stated that they saw 'machomen' on the day of the polls in the Nkoranza North constituency.
According to their observations released last weekend on the just-concluded polls, they saw tough-looking unknown men who went to various polling stations in vans.
The presence of 'the strangers' they stated, nearly marred the otherwise peaceful by-election.
The machomen were sighted at Sikaa, Yefri, Bodom and Odumase.
It would be recalled that security personnel on the day of the polls rounded up 17 machomen, most of them NDC thugs, allegedly imported into the constituency from Tamale and Bawku in the Northern and Upper East regions respectively.
Some have referred to them as the “Azorka Boys”.
The CDD has however saluted the Electoral Commission (EC), security agencies and the people of Nkoranza North for the incident-free by-election in the constituency.
“The EC deserves commendation for the able manner in which it handled the Nkoranza North bye-election.
Our monitors reported that the polling stations were opened at 7am exactly and in most cases, presiding officers were present at the start of polls and polling stations were closed exactly at 5.00pm in all the centres,” the monitors indicated in a report.
The by-election, according to them, was without incidents but for the attempts by what they described as 'strangers' to derail the exercise.
“There were no hitches during the voting process and election materials were available,” the monitors stated, adding that the routine pre-election procedures on voters went on in an orderly manner.
“The election officials,” the report went on, “conducted themselves professionally and presiding officers and their teams were generally thorough and courteous in processing voters, including those who turned up without voter cards.”
Security and EC monitoring teams did much to instill confidence among the voters and intervened quickly to resolve minor incidents, they added.
“Acrimony between some party agents and polling staff in Dromankese nearly got out of control until some security agents intervened.”
They observed that party rallies only got patronage when major party functionaries were on the ticket as speakers, adding that two days to the polls saw a surge in political activities because of the visit of President Kufuor and his predecessor.
A number of social development projects such as road construction and electrification were initiated by Government and these according to them, opposition party activists complained about.
“Activists of both the New Patriotic Party (NPP) and the National Democratic Congress (NDC) alleged accused each other of distributing rice, roofing sheets and other items to influence voting.”These, the Centre said, it could not substantiate.
The polls took place on Tuesday March 13, 2007, following the vacation of the seat by the former MP, Eric Amoateng, who was arrested in the US over a narcotic-related case.