Story from Isaac Akwetey-Okunor, Koforidua
The timely intervention by the police averted what could have been a bloody clash among the supporters of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) over the ongoing branch elections. Information gathered by The Chronicle indicates that thugs, reportedly loyal to the incumbent Member of Parliament (MP) for Afram Plains South, Eric Osei Owusu, invaded six out of seven polling stations to stop the branch executive elections.
The action, The Chronicle gathered, was borne out of the fact that some of the candidates, who campaigned against MP during the 2016 parliamentary and presidential elections, had filed to contest the election.
The Constituency Communication Officer (CCO), Mr. Moses Tangbe, in a telephone interview, confirmed the incident and indicated that the situation would have been bloody if the police had not intervened.
According to Mr Moses Tangbe, there are 102 polling stations in the constituency, out of which 98 were cleared for the elections.
The remaining four polling stations could not get the required number of people as required by the constitution of the party for an election.
According to him, for a polling station to be declared eligible, it must have not less than 20 people.
On the unfortunate incident, Tangbe, who doubled as the officer at the seven polling stations at Mame Krobo, said he was shocked about how the thugs, with allegiance to the MP, conducted themselves.
To him, politics is basically about agreeing to disagree, hence, there is the need to exercise a high level of maturity and tolerance when one decides to be an active politician.
The Constituency Communication Officer continued that at the Bebuso polling station for instance, the branch Youth Organiser, Akay Emmanuel, one of the boys of the MP, took away the ballot box and ballot papers because a certain Charlotte Kuma was contesting.
Mr Tangbe quoted the Youth Organiser as saying that he took the action based on instructions given him by his boss (the MP), because the said Charlotte, who was contesting as the branch Women Organiser, campaigned against him (MP) during the 2016 elections.
According to Mr. Tangbe, the branch Youth Organiser vowed not to release the ballot box and papers until he had been instructed by the MP to do so.
This was after the Director of Elections, Mr. Daniel Awutey, had gone to him (Akay) to release the seized items.
Mr Tangbe said he was not amused with the conduct demonstrated by the MP and his bad relationship with constituency executives, adding that the MP has decided not to work with the current crop of constituency executives, because, to him, they are not on his side.
The Constituency Chairman, Mr. Boamah, on his part, asked the general public to treat the allegations by the MP that some people campaigned against him with the contempt it deserved. To him, the MP is not a team player, and that, since his assumption as the MP for the area, unity and peace had eluded the party.
According to the Chairman, the MP is practicing ‘divide and rule’ tactics, which is thwarting the forward match of the party.
Chairman Boamah indicated that due to lack of funds, the party nearly lost the constituency office, but this is not a priority of the MP.
Speaking with N.K. Solomon on Bryt FM, a Koforidua-based private radio station, Mr Owusu, the MP, confirmed the story, but was quick to say that even though he went to the said polling stations with the boys, he did not instruct them to seize the ballot boxes and papers.
According to him, the boys acted on their own, following the actions of some of the candidates who campaigned against him during the 2016 elections.
He mentioned that the ballot boxes and papers have since been taken to the Mame Krobo police station.