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30.08.2005 NPP News

Odododiodoo: Confusion at NPP office

GNA NDC alleges fraud Accra, Aug. 30, GNA - Police are having a hectic time controlling a crowd thronging to the frontage of the Odododiodoo constituency office of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) at the on-going bye-election as supporters of the main opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) alleged that the NPP had hidden ballot boxes in that office.

The crowd has vowed not to leave the area until the end of voting unless the Police searched the office and declared that nothing was amiss.

Following reports on radio stations about the allegation, some notable members of the NDC, Mr Fifi Kwetey, Mr Alban Bagbin, Nii Armah Ashitey, Mr Asiedu Nketia have visited the area.

However, Mr Dan Botwe, Minister for Information, dismissed the allegation as baseless saying, he had been in that office since 0500 hours and that Mr E.T. Mensah and Mr Baba Jamal, both stalwarts of the NDC had even come to the office to chat with him without citing any fraudulent acts.

"This allegation is baseless," he told the GNA. "It is only fools who will believe this kind of story. They are only trying to create a diversion so that they can carry out what they know best - cheating." Meanwhile, the Palladium Cinema Polling station located a few meters away from the NPP office had to be relocated at the insistence of the NDC to a corner not visible to the NPP office.

However, Mr Botwe argued that such a request was out of place since the NDC had a flag hoisted just above the polling station, which was against electoral laws.

The arrival of Madam Amerley Tagoe, MP for Ablekuma South, to the office was greeted with jeers and boos by the crowd, which shouted, "go to your constituency and leave us alone."

Police personnel in riot control gear have gathered just in front of the office of the NPP to prevent the rowdy crowd from entering. In an interaction with Mr. Kow Acquaye, Assistant Researcher of the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA), one of the institutions monitoring the elections, GNA learned that the overall election process had been progressing peacefully but for a few inevitable lapses.

Mr Acquaye cited an instance of a young man who was directing people about who to vote for at the Salaga Market Polling Station. He also said by the electoral laws, party paraphernalia should be displayed 200 metres away from polling stations, and called on the National Commission on Civic Education to educate the electorate and political parties on that aspect of the electoral bye-laws.

He said it appeared that some of the bodies sent out to monitor the elections were not properly trained as they only had observer status and were not to question presiding officers and polling assistants when polling was underway.

On his impression on the crowd at the Palladium Cinema polling station, which had 441 registered voters, Mr Acquaye said crowds should not be formed at polling centres because they could become theatres for violence, as faceless people could take advantage to cause mayhem. Monitors of Ghana Centre for Democratic Development (CDD), which is also monitoring the election, declined to comment on the conduct of the elections.