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General News of Friday, 7 December 2012

Source: Put together by GhanaWeb

Ghana Elections Updates: Five Presidential Candidates Vote

Updates by Radio XYZ

Voting is underway in many polling stations across the country as the world’s focus is once again on Ghana as nearly 14 million electorate go to the polls to decide who the next President of the Republic becomes.

Also at stake, is the race for 275 seats in Parliament being contested by 1,300 candidates.

Electorates Boycott voting

Electorates at the Palace Town polling station at the Anyaa constituency are threatening to boycott the electoral process because according to them the ballot boxes have been tempered with.

The voters told Radio XYZ that the ballot boxes had been opened before they were brought to the polling station.

They also indicate that the verification machines are not working and until a new verification machine and new ballot boxes are brought they would not cast their vote.

NPP MP for the constituency, Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey, has however urged NPP members not to vote until the verification machines are brought.

Bawumia Votes

The Vice Presidential candidate, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia has also voted in the Walewale constituency in the Northern region.

Addressing journalists, the former deputy governor of the Bank of Ghana called on the EC to address the issues of reported breakdown of verification machines to make the process a smooth one.

Former First Lady votes

Former First Lady Ernestina Naadu Mills has just voted at the Regimanuel estate on the Spintex road.

No Ballot boxes at Krowor

Reports reaching Radio XYZ indicates that there are no ballot boxes in the Krowor constituency and voting is yet to begin in that constituency.

Developments

Nana Addo votes in the Eastern region.

The Flagbearer of the opposition New Patriotic Party, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has just cast his vote in the Akyem Abuakwa constituency in the Eastern region.

His presence caused a stir at the polling station as electorates gathered there wanted to catch a glimpse of him.

In his address to Ghanaians he stated his victory is in the hands of Ghanaians.

Ex President Rawlings votes

Ex President Rawlings has cast his vote at the PWD 2 polling station at the Korle Klottey constituency in the Greater Accra region.

President Rawlings waved at some of the electorates before going to cast his vote. The founder of the ruling NDC praised the Ghanaians for their composure and attitude shown towards the process.

He admonished Ghanaians to remain peaceful and ensure that the best person wins the election.

Machine breaks down

The verification machine at the Joshua polling station at the La Dade Kotokpon has broken down bringing the voting exercise to a halt. Meanwhile, the verification machine in some parts of the Adenta constituency is yet to arrive for the process to commence.

First Lady votes

The First Lady Lordina Mahama has cast her vote at Cantonments in the Greater Accra region. No need to ask who she voted for. Speaking to the media after casting her vote she added that by God's grace her husband President Mahama would win the elections one touch.

Kumasi issues

At the Ayigya constituency in Kumasi in the Ashanti region an Electoral Officer has been arrested for failing to stamp 200 ballot papers. He has been taken to the Central Police Station under the instructions of the Central Police commander.

Also a young man has been arrested for attempting to snatch a ballot box at Ala Bar in the Ashanti region. He has however been sent to the Manhyia Police station.

Boy arrested at Odododiodoo in Accra for voting twice

An electorate who tried to elude the laws governing the elections by trying to vote twice has been arrested at the Ledzorkuku constituency in Accra. Though the name of the lad has not been made public information indicates that the police have arrested the person who tried to act ‘sensibly’ at the polling center.

Presidential candidates vote

So far four Presidential candidates have cast their vote in their various constituencies.

Odike sure of victory

UFP Flagbearer Akwasi Odae Odike who cast his vote at the Kwadaso constituency stated that he is confident of winning the elections.

Hassan Ayariga says he would win one touch

Hassan Ayariga of the PNC who voted in Bawku in the Upper East region stated that says all indications shows that he is winning the election one touch. He However stated that he voted for himself contrary to claims that h was not going to vote for himself.

Nduom Jabs Mahama

PPP Flagbearer Dr. Papa Kwesi Nduom who cast his vote in Elmina together with his wife condemned President Mahama for abusing incumbency and going on air on Thursday to address the nation. According to him, Ghana is not at war and there was no need for his nationwide address.

Henry Lartey calls for Peace

GCPP Flagbearer Dr. Henry Lartey however admonished Ghanaians to exercise restraint with the process and go about the elections in a peaceful manner after he cast his vote at the Korle Klottey constituency.

Tempers are also flaring in other constituencies as some of the verification machines seem to be delaying the process in many polling stations across the country.

At the Odododiodoo constituency voting has started in many of the polling stations monitored by our reporter Elvis Adjetey.

At the La Dade kpotokpon Constituency voting has begun in some polling stations but voting is yet to take off in other polling stations.

At the St. Martins De Porres polling station at the Ablekuma West Constituency, reports indicate that several people had already cast their votes but the verification machine is delaying the process.

St Benedict polling station at Ofankor, the NDC party agent was sacked by EC officials because he did not have a valid Identification.

The EC official in an interview with XYZ News stated that voting will go ahead without the NDC party agent.

At the Korle Klottey constituency voting has also started at some polling stations but voting is also yet to commence in other polling stations in the constituency.

Streets in Tamale are deserted as voters troop to polling centres to cast their votes.

At  Dabokpa JHS "A" in the Tamale South Constituency, where there are 816 names in the voters' register, polling started at 0705 hours.

The Presiding officer, Mr Alhassan Dokurugu, said everything was going on well.

He said ballot papers and electoral materials had been delivered and the verification equipment was functioning well.

At Dabokpa JHS "B", which also has 816 voters in the register, voting started at 0710.

There were about 100 voters queued at each polling station when polling started.

At both centres there are two separate queues for men and women because of religious reasons, as the area is predominantly Muslim.

Updates by Joy Fm

Voting has commenced in most polling stations across the country. Some voters spent the night at their respective polling stations just to exercise their franchise.

The exercise which commenced 0700GMT is expected to close at 1700GMT. However, persons who are in the queue as at 1700GMT would be allowed to cast their ballots after which polls which close.

voting


Developments

11:51 Former NDC Chairman for the Ashanti Region, Mr. Daniel Ohene Agyekum has denied his house had been searched by the police. He said the reports were false.

11:44 Former President John Kufuor has just cast his vote. He is optimistic the elections will pass off peacefully because Ghanaians are peaceful people.

11:33 Second Lady, Mrs Amissah Arthur has just voted at the Christ The King polling centre in Accra. She says she and her husband will be having fun whilst waiting for the results.

11:19 President John Mahama has just touched down at Wa en-route to Bole where he will cast his ballot.

11:13 Vice President Kwesi Amissah Arthur is casting his ballot at the Accra High Polling Station where a little over 400 people are voting. "There is a lot of enthusiasm; people, from the report I am getting, are waiting patiently to cast heir ballot and that is encouraging," he told journalists. The Vice-President says he is not worried that at the moment, voting materials have not arrived at voting centres because it was expected.

11:11 Police patrol team maintaining order at Anyaa Sowutuom. Some rowdy voters have been beaten by security personnel.

11:00 Flagbearer of the New Patriotic Party, Nana Akufo-Addo has just cast his ballot in the Abuakwa North Constituency in the Eastern Region.

10:56 Joy News' Jefferson Sackey reports very old people are voting at the Ablekuma Central Constituency. The main gate to a polling centre at Lartebiokorshie , near Radio Gold has been closed and it is causing disaffection.

10:53 Voting in the Volta School for the Death in Hohoe going on smoothly except a few voters whose finger prints were not recognised by the verification machine.

10:50 Former President Rawlings has just cast his vote. He says the zeal of the people in being part of the process is commendable.

10:41 Voting at La Joshua Polling Station in the La Dade Kotopon stalls because Biometric registration machine has broken down.

10:38 At Manhyia in Kumasi, voting is smooth. EC official arrested for failing to stamp ballot papers before giving them to voters at Ayigya. 200 ballots unstamped were cast, reported Nurideen Mohammed.

10:35 Bethel Polling Centre at the Anya Sowutuom Constituency in Greater Accra is boiling. Residents have blocked the road, angry at the failure of the EC to deliver voting materials there.

10:20 Governance watcher, Baffour Agyemang-Duah expresses worry that elections will delay by as much as two hours.

10:16 First Lady has cast her ballot. In brief comments to journalists, she prayed her husband wins the elections.

10:14 First Lady, Lordina Mahama going through the process to cast her ballot at a Cantonments polling station.

9:59 Nana Benyin Brown-Addo reports from Tema East that voting is peaceful. He says unlike other polling centres where there are long queues, there are no queues at all where he is.

9:57 President candidate of the Progressive People's Party has just cast his ballot. He says President Mahama should be telling his people not to do anything to disturb the peace. He says the disturbances are being caused by supporters of the NPP and the NDC.

9:52 Manasseh Azure Awuni reports of a fire outbreak at Caprice in Accra, scuttling voting briefly.

9:39 Ransford Abbosey reported from electoral officers showed up late about 20 minutes ago. They have not explained reason for delays.

9:36 There is confusion at Calvary School Polling Station at Teshie because electoral materials have not yet arrived. An old lady collapsed whilst waiting to cast her vote. She has been rushed to the hospital.

9:24 PNC Constituency Chairman for Karaga, Alhassan Ze has died in an accident whilst on his way to cast his vote, the Police have confirmed.

9:20 Myjoyonline.com's Dorcas Efe Mensah reports there disagreement and argument at MA JHS Ngleshie Amanfo (A) polling centre where voters are resisting attempts to rearrange queues in alphabetical order. She says some voters have been refused the right to vote because their pictures are not on the electoral roll even though their names are on the register.

9:12 From Nadowli West Constituency in the Upper West Region, voting is proceeding smoothly. Incumbent MP, Mr. Alban Sumana Bagbin has cast his votes.

8:53 Correspondent Rafiq Salam reports from the Kambali Primary School Polling Centre in Wa that a little over 1,800 people are expected to cast their ballot. Over 200 people have so far voted. The process is smooth.

8:49 From the Klottey Korle Constituency in Accra, Rasheedat Kadiri reports voting is yet to start. She says voting materials arrived only 20 minutes ago and there is agitation from voters who have been queuing since last night. Electoral officers explain the bullion van carrying the electoral materials did not have fuel, resulting in the delay.

8:40 Joy News' Mercy Adjabeng reports from Cape Coast Constituency in the Central Region that polling centres with huge voter population have been split to quicken the process.

8:30 Tensions rising at Haatso, Dome Kwabenya polling centre. Electoral materials have not arrived and voters who have been are angry.

There are also reports of some polling stations not starting the exercise on time due to reasons such as the delay in the arrival of voting materials.

The world’s focus is on Ghana as nearly 14 million registered voters are expected to elect the next President of the Republic.

Also at stake, is the race for 275 seats in Parliament being contested by 1,300 candidates.

After nerve-wrecking and grueling months of campaigning, criss-crossing the length and breath of the country, the presidential and parliamentary candidates have done all they could to win the hearts and minds of the electorate in this year’s polls, the sixth to be conducted under the Fourth Republican Constitution.

Under the Constitution, only two out of the 23 political parties so far registered by the Electoral Commission (EC) have won elections in 1992, 1996, 2000, 2004 and 2008. They are the National Democratic Congress (NDC),?which won in 1992, 1996, and 2008 while the New Patriotic Party (NPP) won in 2000 and 2004.

With five free and fair elections, Ghana proudly boasts a healthy and enviable track record of successfully organising polls that have won global acclaim.

On Friday, the presidency is up for grabs once again. Although all the presidential candidates have campaigned vigorously, the contest does not appear to be different from what it had been in the past as it will be a two-horse race between President John Dramani Mahama of the NDC and Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo of the NPP.

The other presidential contestants are Dr Henry Lartey of the Great Consolidated Popular Party (GCPP), Dr Papa Kwesi Nduom of the Progressive People’s Party (PPP), Mr Akwasi Addae of the United Front Party (UFP), Mr Hassan Ayariga of the People’s National Convention (PNC), Dr Michael Abu Sakara Foster of the Convention People’s Party (CPP) and Mr Jacob Osei Yeboah, an independent candidate.

Some researchers, opinion polls, media, political analysts and statisticians have all come up with divergent opinion polls favouring one candidate or the other. But what seems to be the trend is that the polls favour either the NDC candidate, President Mahama, or Nana Akufo-Addo of the NPP. Dr Nduom appears a distant third while Dr Sakara, Mr Ayariga, Mr Osei Yeboah and Mr Addae are all confident of making some impact and for that matter causing an upset.

From the voting pattern in previous elections, the Northern, Upper West, Upper East and Volta regions are likely to vote for the NDC, while the Ashanti and Eastern regions are likely to go for the NPP.

The Western, Brong Ahafo, Central and the Greater Accra regions could be the swing areas in the election where there appears to be a dead heat.

In the Central, Western and Greater Accra regions, Dr Papa Kwesi Nduom could cause a stir, since his campaign on the platform of incorruptible leadership and transparency appear to have caught on well with some electorate in those areas.

The impressive performance of Dr Abu Sakara at the Institute of Economic Affairs debates could also serve as an attraction to some voters.

Indeed, the PPP and CPP have separately maintained that both the NDC and the NPP have done their best for Ghana under their 30 or so years in government, but their best is not good enough for the nation.

The CPP, in particular, argues that Ghana is not working and under a CPP administration, Ghana will work again, while the PPP is focusing on youth development, job creation among others to woo votes.

From all indications, the 2012 general and presidential elections will be a close fight, and many political experts predict it will be as close as the 2008 cliff-hanger that saw the presidential elections going into a third round.

In the 2008 Election, Nana Akufo-Addo of the NPP led the pack obtaining 4,159,439 votes (49.13 per cent) in the first round of votes while Prof. J.E.A. Mills of the NDC got 4,056,634 (47.92 per cent). The CPP, which had Dr Nduom as flag bearer, polled 111,494 (1.34 per cent), Dr Edward Mahama of the PNC got 73,494 (0.87 per cent, DFP got 27,889 (0.33 per cent), Mr Kwasi Amoafo Yeboah, an independent presidential candidate, got 19,342 (0.23 per cent) while the Reformed Patriotic Democratic Party got 6,889 votes (0.08 per cent).

However, in the final results, Prof. Mills garnered 4,521,032 votes (50.23 per cent) to win the polls while Nana Akufo-Addo got 4,480,446 (49.77 per cent). Total votes cast in that elections were 9,001,478 (72.91 per cent) and total registered voters for that election was 12,472,758.

For this year’s election, however, it is the general opinion that the elections will travel first round but some people are also expecting it to go for a second round.

The general election to select a President and Members of Parliament will be held tomorrow December 7 with a run-off on December 28, 2012 if no candidate receives an absolute majority of 50 per cent plus one vote. A parliamentary candidate will win by a simple majority.

This year’s electioneering saw many innovations apart from the traditional ways of campaigning. All the political parties adopted various campaign strategies to sell their candidates and campaign messages. The NDC, NPP and the PPP also used very captivating and easy-to-sing-along songs to sell their campaign messages.

The NDC, having elected their flag bearer only four months to the December 7 polls after the demise of former President J.E.A. Mills, resorted more to outdoor campaigns in order to sell their new candidate, President Mahama.

Unlike in 2008, when the NPP engaged in mega rallies, the NPP and Nana Akufo-Addo this time round, adopted a fierce retail campaign including door-to-door, house-to-house and market-to-market campaigns to woo voters. Many of the other parties including the PPP, CPP, and the PNC did same.
On the other hand, it looks as if President Mahama did not have much time to effectively undertake retail campaigning but was extremely effective with his whistle-stop campaigns to all the nooks and cranny of the country.

The PPP was very innovative using the social media more effectively, focusing on the youth vote and job creation agenda message. According to the party, the youth can easily identify with new ideas and suggestions and through the social media the PPP may have made a lot of inroads into the youth vote.

Since Ghana got back on to the path of democratic governance in 1992, the country’s electoral process has evolved over the years from the use of opaque ballot boxes and thumb-printed photo identity cards in 1996, to the use of transparent ballot boxes and photo ID cards.

Today, a biometric voters’ register with an electronic system of verification is in use. It is, therefore, the expectation of many Ghanaians that this year’s elections will be the most transparent, credible and peaceful.

Updates by Citi Fm

11.43 - The Former President, John Agyekum Kufuor casts his ballot and says "I want victory for my Presidential candidate." He indicates the nation must be mature about the electoral process. "It doesn't seem the Electoral Commission prepared adequately," he notes. 

11.31 - Rabiu Alhassan from the Ayawaso North constituency reports that the NDC and NPP polling agents are around while the other parties have no representation.
There is order however, in all the polling stations in the constituency. 

11:28 - Mahama arrives at the Wa air-strip. He would go to the presidential lodge then to Bole to vote.

11:25 - Five polling stations in the same vicinity in the Chorkor area has caused the people to agitate. There appears to be no security personnel around to control affairs. 

11:15 - Vice President Amissah Arthur casts his ballot and tells the media he believes Ghanaians have behaved favorably. He beckons on all to be patient and feels the EC should be commended. Amissah Arthur says he is not tensed at all and believes it's a one touch victory fir himself and John Mahama. He says he will be worried if by midday there are still issues with the process otherwise.

11:05 - The NPP flagbearer, Nana Addo Dankwa Akuffo Addo just casted his vote at Abuakwa South constituency. His running mate, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia also just voted in his constituency in the Wale Wale Constituency. 

11:00 - A pregnant woman in Kumasi goes into labour and is allowed to vote. Her sister, who is with her, is also allowed to vote and the two go to the hospital together. 

10:20 - Lorrencia Adam reports that at Taifa Burkina 1 A polling station, the verification machine is frozen and the replacement is also frozen. This is making the voters impatient as according to them, they started queueing from last night. They are calling on the EC to rectify the situation. 

10:15 - Eunice Dufie Barimah reports from the Anyaa Sowutuom Constituency, Bethel Foundation polling station. She says electoral materials are not in. The people are very frustrated as they have been waiting for the past three hours. Dorcas Ankama, the Presiding officer, says they are still waiting for the items to arrive. She added that they are making efforts to calm the voters

10:10 - Umaru Sanda Amanda from the Krowor Constituency says for the past three hours the residents have not been able to vote because the materials have not arrived and the electoral officers are absent. 

09:50 - Dr Nduom, PPP Presidential candidate and wife have voted in Elmina. In his opinion the election so far, has been smooth but to determine if it has been free and fair will not happen today; it can only be accessed after the process. 

He has a few choice words for the President about his broadcast yesterday. 

9:15 - In Kpone Katamanso, voting is delaying because the voter’s register is not around.

Presiding Officer, Amugi Prince says the problem is being rectified. People are agitated due to the delay however.

In Ashiaman, Motor riders have adhered to the regulation that no cyclists should be seen around the area

08.30 - In the Hohoe Constituency, Mackintosh Gratham says as at 5:30 AM people started queuing. Voting started at exactly 7 AM and there are no problems. The area has been under curfew for some months now. 

Clement Akapame from the Tema Central Constituency indicates that as at 8 AM, electoral materials had not arrived and they are experiencing a series of black outs.

08.20 - From the the Ledzokuku, Vivian Kai Mensah reports that no EC official is in the area and so voting has not started. There are no security officials as well. According to her, the EC is now distributing election materials in the area. A security officials is in a queue waiting to vote so he can go to his assigned duty point to monitor the election. In Ashiaman, people are waiting to be bused to the Volta region and other parts of the country to vote but they have heard nothing from their political parties. They are threatening not to vote.

Nana Afrane Asante reports that Okaikoi Central at the Alive Chapel polling station, verification equipments are not working and although they have been replaced, they are still not functioning. 

08.12 - From the Adenta Constituency, Henry Nii Dortey reports that electoral materials have not arrived. One polling station has been split into two therefore causing confusion among voters as to where to vote. Queues are not well formed and people are getting agitated. Voting has not started in many parts of Adenta. 

07.50 - Godfred Akoto Boafo reports from Atiko junction Polling Station. He indicates that voting started at 7am prompt and he indicates that the elderly have been allowed to vote first. At the Amafo polling station, there is a high turn out but with a very peaceful atmosphere. Aside the long queues, people are going about their normal duties

07.49 - Felix Agbenyo in the Ketu South constituency in the Volta Region reports that the exercise has begun in earnest and is running smoothly. Lines are very long. "Party agents are at post", he says

07.40 - James Oberko from the Oforikrom Constituency reports that there are no security persons around to control the long queues. At the Christian Advantage polling station, 30 people have voted so far.
The lights are off at Kwaprow in Cape Coast.

07.36 - Richard Sky is at Dome Kwabenya Constituency reports that electorates are running out of patience in all five polling stations in the constituency because voting has not started in the area. They are however resolute to cast their vote. polling

Latif Mahama in Sisala Constituency, Security officials are not yet at the polling station. Interms of Party agents, Only NDC and NPP agents are present. The area is peaceful and the people are waiting patiently.

A few people were bused to the area to cast their vote. 

07.30 - In the Bolgatanga Central Constituency, Agana Bawa reports that there are three polling stations and there are very long queues with the people waiting patiently to cast their vote. He reports that Voting has started in Navrongo.

07.05 - Polls have opened across the country as Ghanaians prepare to elect a new President and a set of Parliamentarians for the next four years. 

Reports by Citi Fm indicate that though some polling stations have opened, a combination of absence of security officers, absence of electoral materials and electoral officers have characterised some of the polling station visited.

From Kwaadaso in the Ashanti Region, Regional correspondent, Betty Ohemaa Agyemang reports that people have been queuing up since 12 am. Electoral officers are setting up.

There is confusion among the electorates as to where to cast their votes because there are five polling stations in the constituency. There are no security officers around

Agana Bawa from the Bolgatanga reports that polls have opened and all seems well.

06.55 - Juanita Sallah reports from the Ablekuma South Constituency and says the polling station report long winding queues but it appears some of them are not ready to commence. 

06.48 - Emmanuel Asante Acheampong, Presiding Officer in the Obomey L.A. Primary polling station within the Mpraeso Constituency in the Eastern Region reports that he had some challenges with electoral materials. He however has been able to rectify the situation in anticipation of opening of polls.

With a few minutes to the commencement of election proceedings, Ghanaians turn up in their numbers to exercise their franchise. 

As early as 01.00 GMT queues were springing up all over the country with several people looking to secure prime spots. 

The 2012 elections has been a hotly contested one with many analysts claiming it to be the most issue based contest till date. 

The contest will be between the incumbent John Dramani Mahama for the National Democratic Congress, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo of the New Patriotic Party, Dr. Abu Sakara Foster of the Convention People's Party, Hassan Ayariga of the People's National Convention, Dr. Papa Kwesi Nduom of the Progressive People's Party, Dr. Henry Herbert Lartey of the Great Consolidated Popular Party, Akwasi Addai Odike, Presidential candidate of the United Front Party and Jacob Osei Yeboah an independent candidate. 

 



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