Voters to choose District, Unit Committee members on Tuesday
December 27, 2010 Accra, Dec. 27, GNA - Voters go to the polls on Tuesday to choose District Assembly and Unit Committee members in elections that would constitute the political leadership at the grassroots level.
The elections are being held on a non-partisan basis, as specified in the 1992 Constitution, but it is common knowledge that the various political parties, especially the National Democratic Congress (NDC) and New Patriotic party (NPP), are sponsoring candidates to influence decisions at district assemblies and unit committee levels. In most instances, the colours of the posters indicate the political leaning of the candidate.
The battle at the Assemblies in the approval of nominees of the Executive (Presidents) of Chief Executives of the various District, Municipal and Metropolitan Assemblies are clear indicators of the flexing of muscles by the political parties.
So the arguments continue on whether the District Level elections should be run on party political lines and whether the positions of chief executives of the district, municipal and metropolitan assemblies should be through elections instead nominations by the Executive (President).
A total of 17,315 candidates are vying to be District Assembly members, according to statistics from the Electoral Commission (EC). The statistics show that they are made up of 15,939 males (92.05 per cent) and 1,376 females (7.95 per cent).
On the Unit Committee Elections, a total of 45,762 candidates made up of 41,110 males (89.83 per cent) and 4,652 females (10.17 per cent) are contesting the vote.
District Level elections have barely ignited passion, especially in the cities, where voters largely stay away because they say they hardly know the candidates.
The National Commission for Civic Education has been stressing that the district elections are of equal significance as the Presidential and national Parliamentary elections and urging stakeholders not to underestimate its importance as it whips up interest in vote.
The EC, meanwhile, says it is set to conduct a free, fair and transparent vote.
Mr Christian Owusu-Pary, Acting Director of Public Affairs of the EC, told the GNA on Monday that the Commission had started transporting ballot papers to the various regional capitals.
EC officials would distribute them to secured spots from where each of the over 20,000 polling stations would have their materials before voting starts at 0700 hours.
All polling stations are expected to have all essential materials before the beginning of the vote.
Each polling station would have two ballot boxes, one each for District Assembly and Unit Committee, and seals for each ballot box. Other voting materials would also be available.
The elections would be between 0700 hours and 1700 hours with the entire process taking place in the open view of the public. Agents of candidates would be allowed at polling stations to observe proceedings.
The National Electoral Security Task Force (NESTF) says over 30,000 security personnel would be deployed to police the elections.
"The security deployment is to ensure the maintenance of law and order, protection of life and property and to deal professionally and firmly with any breaches of the peace and any implications before, during and after the polls," Mr Mohammed Alhassan, Deputy Inspector General of Police, said last Monday at the inauguration of the task force in Accra.
"The NESTF is also mandated to adopt strategic and appropriate security measures to ensure orderliness and safety of electoral officials, electoral materials and the electorate," he said.
NESTF is multi-disciplinary taskforce comprising the Ghana Armed Forces, Ghana Police Service, Ghana Fire Service, Ghana Prison Service, Ghana Immigration Service and other security operatives.
Mr Alhassan said the task force would also monitor and co-ordinate the activities of all sub-committees established by the National Task Force and liaise with all competent authorities to marshal all the needed human, material and financial resources for effective policing.
He charged the task force to work as a team to avoid issuance of conflicting directives which often created loopholes in security operations.