some senior security officials going through the voting exercise yesterday

Business24

HUNDREDS OF security personnel were disenfranchised in yesterday?s special voting exercise held across the country because their names could not be found in the voters? register.

The exercise was ahead of Friday?s general election as security personnel and election officials would be assigned special duties on the polling day.

The affected security officials, after joining the long queues for several hours, were later made to return to their post after the electoral officials couldn?t locate their names in the register.

At Sampa in the Jaman North Constituency of the Brong Ahafo Region, confusion nearly broke out when a group of Immigration Officers went to the polling centre and did not find their names.

The officers accused the Electoral Commission (EC) of deliberately deleting their names from the register.

The EC said it could not be blamed for the incident.

According to its Deputy Brong Ahafo Regional Director, Samuel Boadu, the problem came from the security agencies who submitted the names of their personnel to the Commission.

Mr. Boadu said the EC only worked on the information of the security personnel submitted to the Commission by the various security agencies to prepare the register.

When DAILY GUIDE visited the Brong Ahafo Regional Police headquarters in Sunyani around 9:30am, 129 out of the 1,132 total registered voters had successfully cast their ballots.

The presiding officer of the centre, Vida Brenya, told the paper that a number of security personnel did not find their names in the register.

She however said the incident did not affect the process.

The exercise at the regional police headquarters started on time with all the electoral materials intact, while party agents from the New Patriotic Party (NPP), the National Democratic Congress (NDC) and the Progressive People?s Party (PPP) were at the centre to observe proceedings.

At Odumase in the Sunyani West Constituency, 240 registered voters were expected to cast their votes. At the time of our visit around 10am, 95 had voted.

Police, Soldiers Thrown Away

THE SPECIAL voting in the Ashanti Region yesterday was characterized by confusion galore as several security personnel and EC officials were not allowed to vote after several hours of queuing.

The disappointed security agents including the police, army, CEPS, immigration and prisons were told that their names could not be found in the electoral register.

Most of the security agents and the electoral officers that were turned away suffered this predicament at the Central Police Station and the Police Depot at Patase.

At the Central Police Station Polling Centre, there were reports that most of the policemen in the Buffalo Unit could not trace their names.

Most of the Buffalo Unit personnel that could not trace their names in the electoral register insisted that their names were traced during the verification exercise by the EC; therefore they were shocked about the turn of events.

DAILY GUIDE gathered that there were other scenes at some polling stations where some of the security agents nearly fought in the open because some of them tried to jump the queue.

A total of 17,266 people including security agents and electoral officers were supposed to cast their ballot in the Ashanti Region, said Samuel Tettey, Ashanti Regional Director of the EC.

However, the two leading political parties, the NPP and the NDC, have expressed concern over the high number of people that were turned away from voting on Tuesday.

Sam Pyne, the Ashanti Regional Secretary of the NPP, said it was the fault of the EC that most of the people could not trace their names.

Joseph Yammin, the Ashanti Regional Secretary of the NDC, also expressed disgust over how several people could not vote.

Army Chief Disenfranchised

The story was not different in Tamale where a number of senior and junior officers of security establishments in the Northern Region were disenfranchised as their details had gone missing on the voters? register.

About 17 military officers, including the Commanding Officer (CO) of the 6th Infantry Battalion (6BN), Lt Col James Hagan, were not able to vote as their names were missing.

According to the CO, he was among several security personnel in the region who submitted their names for consideration for the special voting and followed the due process only to be disenfranchised on voting day.

Northern Regional Director of the EC Sylvester Kanyi told the press that it was possible the names of the affected persons could be found in the register for the ordinary voters but promised to forward the names to Accra to ensure those voters were not disenfranchised.

In Accra, the story was the same. Security personnel who turned up to vote were turned down for not having their names in the Electoral Commission?s register.

At the Osu Klottey constituency, some of the disappointed voters said the electoral officials told them to return on Friday to vote.

While some in frustration stated that they would not vote at all, others said that they would definitely have to cast their votes before leaving for their duty posts.

Meanwhile, the Presiding Officer of the area, Margaret Agyinie said previously, those whose names were missing were allowed to write their names on a separate sheet while they were allowed to cast their vote but this time, the situation had changed.

The new order is that no verification, no vote.

At the same polling centre, other security officials were in long queues casting their votes.

At Tesano police station, the situation was no different, even though there were no queues at the centre.

The Tesano Divisional Police Commander, ACP Emmanuel Bossoh, who superintended the centre, said those who could not find their names were directed to the appropriate centres to vote.

At Kaneshie police station, Joseph Quartey, the presiding officer, said that 717 security personnel were expected to cast their votes.

He said the only problem encountered so far was with the queue formed by the security personnel themselves.

Some who attempted to jump the queues were prevented, which caused skirmishes.

At Odorgonno and the Mile 7 police station though, there were long queues but personnel were seen casting their votes smoothly.

Multiple Voter Exposed

From the Western Region, a 32-year-old man, Ernest Erzuah, with voter ID number 4398003782, dashed into a nearby thicket at Half Assini in the Western Region when the biometric machine exposed him as a multiple.

After Erzuah had put one of the fingers on the biometric machine, it voiced ?voter already verified? and in a split second, the culprit ran into the brush.
The incident, according to Kwabena Asante, Jomoro District Electoral Officer, happened at 11am at the District Assembly Polling Centre at Half Assini.

Erzuah is not a security personnel or a staff of the EC, but was among those who applied and were granted special voting rights.

A police source which described Erzuah as ?a man with supersonic speed and second to a thunderbolt? said some security personnel in the queue could not help but laugh, while a few chased him but to no avail.

By Linda Tenyah, Accra, Fred Tettey Alarti-Amoako, Sunyani,

I.F. Joe Awuah Jnr., Kumasi, Sam Mark Essien, Takoradi & Stephen Zoure, Tamale

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