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30.08.2005 Politics

Odododiodoo: Voting Ends, Counting Ongoing

Odododiodoo: Voting Ends, Counting  Ongoing
Accra, Aug 30, GNA - Voting ended in the Odododiodoo Constituency bye-election in Accra at 1700 on Tuesday with the Electoral Commission giving the vote a thumbs-up. Mr Albert Kofi Arhin, Director of Elections of the Electoral Commission, said voting was smooth in the constituency despite pre-election violence and fears that there would be trouble. The bye-election at the heart of Accra was the most heavily policed in the Greater Accra Region in 13 years. Hundreds of Policemen and Policewomen were deployed in line with the massive security operation promised by the Inspector-General of Police (IGP), Mr Patrick Acheampong. Policemen and policewomen in uniform and plain clothes patrolled the constituency. There were others on horseback while Police water canons stood by.
Polling was peaceful with the exception of a few complaints about identity, which were resolved by the Electoral Commission.
Arguably the most serious problem was at the frontage of the Odododiodoo constituency office of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) where supporters of the main opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) alleged that the NPP had hidden ballot boxes in that office.
The crowd vowed not to leave the area until the end of voting unless the Police searched the office and declared that nothing was amiss.
Mr Albert Kofi Arhin, Director of Elections of the Electoral Commission, ordered that the Palladium polling station be relocated because it was too close to the New Patriotic Party (NPP) Office in the Odododiodoo Constituency.
He said it was wrong to site a polling station close to a party office or a drinking bar or any location that was not approved by the Electoral Commission.
This is to avoid undue interference in the electoral process, adding that the location of a polling station should be about 500 metres away from such places.
He indicated that the anomaly was not detected during the 2004 Presidential and Parliamentary elections because the workload was voluminous so it could not catch the attention of the Commission. Deputy Superintendent of Police David Eklu of the Police Public Relations Directorate confirmed to the Ghana News Agency that there had been no serious breach of the peace except that suspicion was rife among the electorate.
Deputy Regional Commander, Jonathan Yakubu told the GNA that the various Police patrols were alert for any eventuality. Voters would 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 were expected to have cast 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 was high in the constituency for several weeks leading to clashes between supporters of the two main parties, the NDC and NPP.
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.