No Ballot Papers In W/R

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    VOTER APATHY characterized this year’s district level elections in many parts of the Western Region, resulting in low voter turnout in almost all the polling stations that DAILY GUIDE visited yesterday.
    The district assembly elections could also not be conducted in some districts in the region including Tarkwa-Nsuaem, Evalue-Gwira, Sefwi-Wiawso, Bibiani-Ahwianso-Bekwai, Juaboso, Bia and some towns such as Essikado, Sekondi and parts of Takoradi.
    According to Steve Opoku-Mensah, Western Regional Director of the Electoral Commission (EC), the printers did not finish the printing of the ballot papers but his outfit was expecting the papers.
    He added that electoral material also arrived at Enchi in the Aowin-Suaman District of the Western Region late, so there the was the likelihood of rescheduling that district’s election for December 31 2010.
    DAILY GUIDE scouting also confirmed that in the Jomoro District, which has Half Assini as its capital, Opoku-Mensah intimated that voting was only for the district assembly and not unit committee, and in Takoradi, voting was going on in the central business area, while other polling stations did not get their voting materials.
    At Lagos Town M.A. Key Primary polling station in West Tanokrom, a suburb of Takoradi, the voting materials arrived at 8.45 am, according to Samuel Mintah, presiding officer.
    He told this paper that voting therefore started at exactly 9:45 am, after sorting out and taking records of the materials supplied by the Electoral Commission.
    As at 2:30 pm, only 53 males and 57 females, totaling 110 voters, had so far cast their ballots at the polling station out of 1,901 expected voters.
    Kwesi Ampong, an eligible voter, told this paper that over 40 people, mostly workers, who queued at the polling station from 7:00 am to 8:30 am when the electoral material had not arrived, angrily left for work and wondered whether they would return to cast their ballots.
    He appealed to the EC to do its homework properly by rectifying the situation before the 2000 general elections, adding, “Our electoral system has always been a centre piece, so the EC should work with the stakeholders in order not to mar the respect it commands in Ghana and the international community.”
    At Shalon Shalon polling station of East Amanful in Takoradi, only 195 out of 1606 eligible voters had voted, with 6 people in a queue at 12:30 pm, when this paper visited the station.
    Just around the polling station, there were about 17 young men playing cards, draught and ludo, so DAILY GUIDE enquired whether they had cast their ballots, but the oldest among them, who mentioned his name as Paa Kojo, asked his colleagues to show their voter identity cards and they did.
    “Master, we have combed Takoradi, Tarkwa, Bogoso and other parts of this Ghana for jobs without any. The guy there holds an HND accounting and I have Technician 3 certificate in electrical engineering from Polytechnic.
    “George completed KNUST in chemical engineering in 2008 and many other guys here are graduates without jobs. We will never vote in any election in this country for dirty politicians to continue deceiving us,” he stressed amid a song ‘ogya eh ogya, eh eh ogya’ from the rest of the group.
    At Takoradi neighhbourhood centre polling station in Takoradi, out of 545 eligible voters, only 37 had cast their ballots as at 12:30 pm, according to Christabel Otoo, the presiding officer, who also confirmed that the electoral materials got there at 5:30 am.
    When DAILY GUIDE visited the polling station for the second time at 4:30 pm, 69 persons had their ballots, with no queue as was the case when it was getting to 5:00 pm.
    “People are tired of voting because politicians have always been riding on our backs to power to make big money, while we the poor voters wallow in poverty. All my colleague traders are selling at the market without setting a foot at the polling stations to vote,” Araba Mansa told this paper.
    According to DCOP Hamidu Mahama, Western Regional Police Commander 2,235 police personnel had been deployed to various parts of the region to assist in the polls and that there had been no incident as at 4:30 pm yesterday.