From William N-lanjerborr Jalulah, Bolgatanga
A TOTAL of 2, 658 candidates are contesting the forthcoming District Assembly and Unit Committee elections in the Upper East Region. Out of the number 2,764 are contesting at the unit committee level, while 894 are contesting at the Assembly level.
At the District Assembly level, only 70 women have filed to contest as against 824 men. Builsa District has the highest number of female contestants of 14, with Bawku Municipality recording the least female contestants of 2.
Meanwhile, Kassena-Nankana West and Bawku Municipality have the highest numbers of 106 male candidates each in the district assembly level, with Kassena-Nankana East recording 76, as the least.
At the Unit Committee level, Talensi-Nabdam District has the highest female candidates of 39, with Garu-Tempane recording the least of 11 female candidates as against 263 men.
The Upper East Regional Director of the Electoral Commission (EC), Mr. Ayisi, who disclosed these figures to this reporter in ant interview in Bolgatanga could, however, not provide statistics for the previous election to determine the differences.
He, however, believes the number of women in this year’s elections could be higher than the previous elections, because the number of electoral areas has shot up, following the re-demarcation of the electoral areas.
According to Mr. Ayisi, the re-demarcation, which was meant to merge or split some electoral areas, has not led to the merger of any electoral area in the region, but has rather resulted in the splitting of electoral areas.
He was hopeful that the re-demarcation would improve upon the representation of people in the various communities, because with more electoral areas created, it meant more unit committee members or assembly members.
Mr. Ayisi gave the number of the old and new electoral areas as follows; the region had 270 electoral areas before the re-demarcation, but now it has shot up to 354 electoral areas.
Builsa 42 to 51, Kassena-Nankana East 22 to 35, Kassena-Nankana West 32 to 46, Bolgatanga Municipality 28 to 37, Bongo 36 to 38, Bawku Municipality 30 to 34, Bawku West 32 to 47, Garu-Tempane 22 to 30, Talensi-Nabdam 26 to 36.
He admitted that there were some issues regarding the re-demarcation in some communities, but these issues are being addressed.
The elections are slated for December 28, 2010, and like elsewhere, candidates in the Upper East Region are intensifying their campaigns to woo more voters on the day.Though the elections are supposed to be nonpartisan, political parties and politicians are openly supporting their preferred candidates.