Talensi by-election: No verification, no vote; we're 95% ready – EC

The Electoral Commission of Ghana, says it is about 95% prepared for Tuesday’s by-election in the Talensi constituency of the Upper East Region.

The commission had been accused by the opposition New Patriotic Party of breaching some regulations that could hinder a fair process; a claim the commission has denied.

This will be the first election to be organized under the supervision of Ghana’s first female Chairperson of the Electoral Commission, Mrs. Charlotte Osei, who was sworn into office barely a fortnight ago.

Public Affairs Director of the Electoral Commission, Christian Owusu Parry,told TV3 Midday Live Monday, that the commission is earnestly prepared for the much-talked about by-election.

“On a scale of zero to 100, I can say that preparation is about 95%. We are almost through with all the preparation. As we speak, all materials needed are ready, we have trained our officials and will finish some additional training for our presiding officers by 2:00pm  today. We will begin dispatching materials  to polling centers at 4am on Tuesday. So let me say that we are about 95% through with our preparation”.

Responding to the NPP’s claim that the EC had done some illegal transfer of votes to aid the incumbent NDC, Mr. Parry said that claim could not be true.

According to him,  “a registered voter has the right to transfer a vote and if the person wants to do this, it is done 42 days to the election; and you will remember that we had some transfers done already. So I don’t know what the NPP is talking about” he explained.

Commenting on the issue of no verification no vote, Mr. Parry explained that the policy, which has found its way into the Constitutional Instrument on elections CI 75, would be adhered to.

According to him, various political parties are all in support of the policy which makes it difficult to opt for other ways of verifying eligible voters who may not be identified by the biometric machine.

But the commission says it has put in place the necessary measures to ensure that the biometric machines work effectively this time around.

As part of the measures, the commission says each polling station would have two biometric devices so that in case one fails or develops a fault, they can rely on the spare one.

Readiness of the police

Meanwhile police in the Upper East Region say they are ready to protect the ballot to ward off any unforeseen eventualities on Tuesday.

Public Relations Officer of the Upper East Regional Police Command, ASP Thomas Agbenyo says everything needed for the elections  with regards to security, has been put in place to ensure that the elections are peaceful.

He noted that with the kind of planning that has gone into preparation for Tuesday’s election, it was unlikely for any mishaps to occur during the polls.

NPP & NDC ready for battle

The election is considered a contest between the candidates of the NPP and the NDC

The two major political parties participating in the election, ended their campaigns on Sunday evening.

Political leaders of both parties unusually led the campaign as they addressed a thick crowd of party followers in separate areas of the constituency.

While the New Patriotic Party Flagbearer, Nana Akufo-Addo urged voters send a strong signal to the NDC by voting against them on Tuesday, the NDC’s John Mahama, was convinced the seat, which was originally an  NDC seat, would be restored to the party.

He said their victory would be a dress rehearsal for the 2016 elections where he is sure the NDC would win. The Talensi constituency by-election became necessary after the NPP Member of Parliament after was enskinned as the Paramount Chief of Tongo.

Robert Mosore snatched the seat from the NDC for the first time  in the 2012 elections. The NDC had until then occupied the seat from 1992.

With the Constitution barring traditional leaders from engaging in politics, the MP-turned chief had to vacate his seat.
In the last two weeks, representatives of the two main parties have been in out and out of the Talensi constituency campaigning for votes. 

TV3’s Daniel Lartey says business is also booming for dealers in party paraphernalia particularly for the NDC and the NPP due to their huge following. He adds that hotels have also cashed in on the event by increasing hotel fees.
 
Other parties

Beyond the two main parties’ candidates, there are six other contestants bringing the number to eight.

The People’s National Convention, PNC, backed by the Convention People’s Party, CPP are to be represented by Womeogo Michael Namalteng.

Others are Joseph Toatoba for the PPP, James Bambora Doubil for the New Vision Party,  Yaro Bameezina Philip for the Ghana Freedom Party, Isaac Kungarzore for the UPP and Dennis Attiah Tambil for the Independent People’s Party, IPP.

By:Ebenezer Afanyi Dadzie/3news.com/Ghana

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