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19.11.2008 Elections

Check tension in Builsa North Constituency - candidates


All is not well in the Builsa North constituency in the Upper East Region following heightened tension as the December election draws close.

The parliamentary candidate of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), Mr Timothy Awontiirin Ataboadei and the People's National Convention's (PNC) candidate, Mr Thomas Akum-Yong, have expressed concern about the way the Builsa District Chief Executive, Mr Thomas Alongsi, conducts himself in the area.

This came up at a forum organized by the Upper East Regional office of the Electoral Commission (EC) in Bolgatanga on Monday for parliamentary candidates from all 13 constituencies in the area.

Dubbed “Safeguarding the Integrity of the Ballot,” it was jointly sponsored by the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) and KAB Governance Consult.

Mr. Ataboadei raised concerns such as Mr Alongsi's alleged disregard for EC officials and property belonging to the EC in the Builsa District, alleged attacks and threats on the lives of his political opponents and intimidation.

“The situation is bad and if it is not checked with the urgency it deserves it can degenerate into uncontrollable proportions.”

Mr. Akum-Yong made calculations of the 2004 election result and argued that it remained a matter of doubt that Mrs. Agnes Chigabatia won the election considering the total votes cast including those declared void.

"It is because of such anomalies that we insist the right things are done to ensure free, fair and transparent election on December 7," he said.

The discussion attracted other parliamentary candidates contesting the election in the area who sided with the two speakers.

Other candidates, especially those from the New Patriotic Party (NPP), insisted that the forum was not the right place to table such complaints.

When the arguments ended Mr. Charles Osei Addei, the Director of Training at EC headquarters, directed the Regional Director to investigate the matters raised at the forum for immediate action to be taken to ensure that the election in the area is conducted peacefully.

The Deputy Upper East Regional Minister, Mrs. Chigabatia won the seat by a narrow margin of 13 votes. She polled 6,160 as against 6,147 votes for Mr. Ataboadei of the NDC, with Mr. Akum-yong of the PNC polling 5,657 votes.