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General News of Wednesday, 29 December 2010

Source: GNA

2010 District Level Elections kick-off in five regions

Accra, Dec. 29, GNA - Ghanaian electorates in five regions, are expected to go to the polls on Wednesday, to elect Assembly and Unit Committee members in the 2010 District and Unit Committee Elections. Electoral statistics for the five regions available to the Ghana News Agency shows that, in the Upper East region, a total of 896 candidate, made up of 826 males and 70 females, are vying for the District Assembly whilst a total of 2,763 96 2,561 male and 202 female are contesting for the Unit Committee Election.

The Volta region data shows that a total of 1,833 candidates 96 1,646 male and 187 female are contesting for the District Assembly whilst 4,211 candidates 96 3,753 male and 458 female are contesting for the Unit Commit= tee Election.

In the Ashanti region the record shows that 3,393 contestants 96 3,153 male and 240 female are contesting for the District Assembly whilst 9,473 candidates 96 8,431 male and 1,042 female are contesting at the Unit Committee level.

The Northern region recorded 1,749 candidates 96 1,604 male and 145 female vying for District Assembly and 4,009 candidates 96 3,787 male and 222 female are contesting for the Unit Committee Election whilst in the Brong Ahafo region 1,979 candidates 96 1,830 male and 149 female are contesting for District Assembly and 6,187 candidates 96 5,578 male and 609 female for th= e Unit Committee Elections.

The Greater Accra region, which has had its elections rescheduled for Thursday December 30, has a total of 1,269 candidates, 1,136 male and 133 female are contesting for the District Assembly whilst a total of 2,501 candidates 2,170 male and 331 female are contesting for the Unit Committee Election. In an interview with the Ghana News Agency, Dr Kwadwo Afari-Gyan, Chairman of the Electoral Commission calls for the co-operation of all stakeholders, as it takes the necessary steps to address the operational hiccups. Dr Afari-Gyan, said the Commission is capable of overcoming the glitches being encountered and urged voters, security agencies and the media, especially radio presenters, to be circumspect in their actions and pronouncements.

The EC Chairman, who is in the Ashanti region to monitor the polls, appealed to media practitioners, especially radio presenters, not to presen= t localized problems observed during the process, as a national one. Polling would start at 0700 hours and would continue until 1700 hours, unless they are extended because of technical reasons. Dr Afari-Gyan, explained that the voting procedures remain the same; "The voting pattern is transparent and at each point of the voting process, there is an identifiable glaring system, which would make it impossible for any one to cheat.

"The result of any polling station where the number of votes cast woul= d exceed the number of registered voters would be cancelled." Dr Afari-Gyan urged Ghanaians, especially candidates and their representatives, to avoid making wild allegations about imagined electoral fraud and suspicions because one would not get things done in their favour. The EC Chairman said Presiding Officers in-charge of polling stations would inspect the ballot papers in the presence of the agents, enter the total number, show the ballot boxes to the public to ascertain that they were empty and then place them in the open for voting. Dr Afari-Gyan reiterated that accredited local observers, journalists, security personnel, contesting candidates and spouses and monitors are permitted to visit the polling stations.

The elections are being held on a non-partisan basis, as specified in the 1992 Constitution.

A total of 17,315 candidates are vying to be District Assembly members= , according to statistics from the EC. The statistics shows that, 15,939 males (92.05 per cent) and 1,376 females (7.95 per cent) are competing in the elections. On the Unit Committee Elections, a total of 45,762 candidates made up of 41,110 males (89.83 per cent) and 4,652 females (10.17 per cent) are contesting the elections.

The National Electoral Security Task Force (NESTF) says more than 30,000 security personnel would be deployed to police the elections. "The security deployment is to ensure the maintenance of law and order= , protection of life and property and to deal professionally and firmly with any breaches of the peace and any implications before, during and after the polls," Mr Mohammed Alhassan, Deputy Inspector General of Police, said last Monday at the inauguration of the task force, in Accra.

The NESTF is also mandated to adopt strategic and appropriate security measures to ensure orderliness and safety of electoral officials, electoral materials and the electorate.

NESTF is multi-disciplinary task force comprising the Ghana Armed Forces, Ghana Police Service, Ghana Fire Service, Ghana Prison Service, Ghana Immigration Service and other security operatives.

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