TEMPERS FLARED up at the Eastern regional office of the Electoral Commission (EC) as a Koforidua High Court order to transfer ballot boxes in the Asuogyaman constituency to the regional office at Koforidua for a possible recount nearly resulted in fisticuffs.
EC officials remained helpless as constituency officials of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) and the New Patriotic Party (NPP) engaged in heated verbal exchanges as to whether a re-inventory of the ballot boxes as well as the EC’s official serial numbers on the seals should be taken.
While the NPP officials and those of the EC want that exercise to be done, the NDC officials, led by the constituency chairman, said they would never allow that to happen and that the ballot boxes should be kept at the store room of the EC right away until a further directive from the court.
The regional reporter of the Ghanaian Times who attempted to cool down tempers nearly got himself into trouble as a member of the NPP team whose name was given as Asafoatse nearly fought with him.
Some regional executive members of NDC also joined in the fray later after being called by their constituency officers.
Last Thursday, a Koforidua High court presided over by Justice Owusu Kwarteng ordered that the ballot boxes in the Asuogyaman constituency be transferred from Akosombo to Koforidua pending a petition before it filed by Francis Polley of Aboagyewaa Chambers on behalf of the NPP parliamentary candidate, Kofi Osei-Ameyaw, who claimed that there were some electoral irregularities in the conduct of the December 7 parliamentary elections and declaration of results in the constituency.
An application by the Electoral Commission, which is the first defendant in the case, to set aside the petition filed by Mr Osei-Ameyaw was dismissed by the court at the last sitting.
The court therefore ordered that the ballot papers be transported from the district office of the EC at Akosombo to the regional office since the plaintiff expressed fear about the security and safety of the ballot boxes as happened in Tain.
According to the court, the EC and all the parties involved should make an arrangement for the ballot boxes to be conveyed from Akosombo to the EC’s office in Koforidua in a strictly secured environment.
The court also ordered that the Eastern Regional Police Command should provide adequate security for the conveying of ballot boxes from Akosombo to Koforidua.
Mr Kofi Osei-Ameyaw in his petition to the court argued that some of the ballot papers were not authentic since they did not have the requisite EC stamps.
According to Mr Osei-Ameyaw, some of the presiding officers who are agents of the EC tampered with the carbon copies of statements of results and also signed for some political party agents.
Mr Osei-Ameyaw also stated in his petition that his agents were beaten and driven away from some polling stations such as South Senchi, Abume and Korankye, and could therefore not observe the counting.
He indicated in his petition that officials of the EC also failed to give his agents copies of the completed statement of polls and declaration forms for verification at the Gyakiti L/A Primary School and Gyakiti Presby polling stations.
He further stated that a booklet containing the statement of polls and declaration results for the office of the MP in that constituency had not been provided by the EC.
The parliamentary candidate for the NDC, Joses Asare Akoto is the second defendant in the case and he is being represented by Tony Lithur.
From Thomas Fosu Jnr, Koforidua