Thousands disenfranchised in W/R during assembly polls

By Zambaga Rufai Saminu

Dr. Kwadwo Afari-Gyan, Electoral Commissioner

DESPITE the quick public apology rendered by the Electoral Commissioner (EC) , Dr. Kwadwo Afari Gyan, regarding the inability of the commission to effectively organise the local level elections last year, information gathered on the ground suggests that thousands of the electorate in the Western Region were disenfranchised during the polls.
This was as a result of the inability of the EC to give accurate and specific dates to the 17 district assemblies in the region, and the various electoral areas where the elections were to take place.
Checks conducted by The Chronicle suggests that the regional and district officers of the commission were taken aback, unaware of the circumstances that might have contributed to the haphazard situation under which the election was conducted.
Information further reveals that the untimely printing of ballots, its delivery, and the mishaps characterising the particular dates fixed by the EC for the conduct of the elections, were all part of the problems that ultimately negatively affected the conduct of the elections.
Many voters in the region developed cold feelings towards the elections, and eventually lost interest in exercising their franchise, which contributed to huge voter apathy.
A situation, some have attributed to the incumbent government for the delay in releasing of funds for the conduct of the elections.
However, the EC itself has attributed the challenges to multi factors, including the huge numbers of ballot papers to be printed for the conduct of the elections.
The delay in the passage of the local assembly law that allowed for the expansion of the electoral areas was being blamed for the poor conduct of the elections.
Meanwhile, the majority of the incumbent assembly members in the Sekondi Takoradi Metropolis, who were anxious to retain their slots succeeded.
At Effia Kwesimintsim, eight of the 12 incumbent assembly members who contested the elections maintained their positions, giving room to just a few new faces.

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