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29.08.2005 Politics

All set for Odododiodoo bye-election

All set for Odododiodoo bye-election

Accra, Aug. 29, GNA - Voters in the Odododiodoo Constituency in Accra go to the polls on Tuesday to elect a successor to the late Member of Parliament (MP), Mr Samuel Nii Ayi Mankattah of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), after a campaign marred by violence and acrimony.

Some 81,643 registered voters would be casting their ballots at 116 polling stations to choose between one of four candidates - Jonathan Nii Tackie-Kommey (NDC), Christian Shanco-Bruce Convention People's Party (CPP), Nii Issaka Collison-Cofie Democratic People's Party (DPP) and Asafoatse Sidney Mankattah, New Patriotic Party (NPP).

Tension has been high in the constituency for several weeks leading to clashes between supporters of the two main parties, the NDC and NPP. A Town Hall meeting organised by the Institute of Economic Affairs to afford the candidates the opportunity to present their agenda to the electorate was marred when supporters of the NPP candidate took him away after he was heckled during his presentation.

The Electoral Commission (EC) says it is set for Tuesday's vote while the Police also say they are deploying a huge contingent for the bye-election.

Mr Albert Kofi Arhin, EC Director of Elections, in an interview with the Ghana News Agency on Wednesday in Accra, said all elections materials were available for the election.

The EC organised a training programme for electoral officers and polling assistants from August 25 to August 27.

Voters would use their voter ID cards.

On the problem of misplaced identity cards, he said the Commission could not issue a replacement but those affected would be allowed to vote if their identities could satisfactorily be ascertained in the Voters' Register.

"Once an electorate is physically present the EC will not have problems with his identity at all."

The Inspector-General of Police, Mr Patrick Acheampong said the Police would mount a massive security operation within the constituency. The operation would involve the placing of at least four Policemen at every polling station and more personnel in plain clothe across the constituency.

Reliable police source told the GNA that there would be more security personnel at volatile polling stations while officers of the Criminal Investigations Department would be asked to take video and camera shots across the constituency to identify would-be trouble makers.

The sources said beside the massive Police presence, Police with water cannons would be on a standby and others on horses would patrol the streets.

The sources also said reports reaching the Police indicated that macho men were being mobilised from areas like Nima and Ashaiman to foment trouble in the constituency and that the Police would deal drastically with any troublemakers and their mentors.

There would be about 25 police vehicles on standby for any eventuality at any time during and after the polls. A crack Striking Force squad at Tema with special military training would also be on standby at the Police Headquarters.

This is the second by-election during the tenure of this Parliament. The first one was in Asawase in the Ashanti Region where the NDC retained its seat.