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11.08.2005 Education

Unit committee election hampered by lack of education


Tamale, August 11, GNA - Inadequate public education has hampered the election at the Unit Committee level in the ongoing district level elections in the Tamale Metropolis.

A number of polling stations the GNA visited in Jakarayili Electoral Area showed that most of the electorate were not aware that they were required to thumbprint pictures of 10 unit committee members on the ballot paper.

At all the four polling stations in Jakarayili, the presiding officers said they had to educate the electorate on the proper voting procedure since almost all the voters were thumb printing on only one candidate on the ballot paper.

Mr Andani Nuhu, the Presiding Officer at the Esther Day Care Centre polling station, attributed the problem to the failure of the Electoral Commission to create awareness among the electorate.

Mr. Sa-ad Hamza, the Presiding Officer at the Dakpema Primary School polling station in the Changli Electoral Area, blamed the low turn out on the fact that many people did not attach much importance to the district level elections.

An aspiring Assemblyman for the Ward K Electoral Area in the Tamale North Constituency had to embark on a last minute house-to-house campaign to persuade the electorate to come out to cast their votes. While most of the electorate in the area were either unaware that they were expected to cast their vote to elect their assembly and unit committee members others simply said that they were fed up with voting. At most of the voting centres in the Kalpohin Estates, there was no provision for the voting in the Unit Committee election as the members had been declared unopposed.

Mr Alhassan Issifu, 49, an aspiring Assemblyman for the Ward K electoral Area, said he had had a hectic time since the morning in persuading the people to come out and vote and blamed the apathy on the Electoral Commission for not adequately educating them on the elections. At the polling stations in the Inter-Royals Hotel and the Kalpohin Electoral Areas some people could not cast their vote because their names could not be found in the voters' register while others were denied their voting rights because they refused to have the indelible ink marked on their thumbs.

At the Methodist JSS polling station in the Ward K Electoral Area, an old woman who came to cast her vote was seen desperately pulling the drawer of the table on which the ballot box was placed to put her vote inside.

When the GNA visited the Queen Elizabeth Day Nursery in the Tishiegu Electoral area, voting was going on smoothly and peacefully but the only hitch was that most of the election officers said they had no enumeration sheets to compile the number of males and females who would cast their vote.