Monday, December 15, 2008

No salary arrears - Sottie

Saturday, December 13, 2008 (Page 28)

THE Controller and Accountant-General, Mr Christian Tetteh Sottie, has stated that the government is not in arrears of salaries for public servants.
According to him, the salaries for 378,623 public servants totalling GH¢112.9 million for the month of November 2008 had been paid.
In an interview with the Daily Graphic in reaction to reports that some public servants had not received their salaries, Mr Sottie said “as far as we are concerned, public servants have been paid. No one has brought any complaint to our notice. We will act immediately when such problems are brought before us.”
He further stated that the December salaries for public servants would be released to the banks on December 18, 2008.
Explaining what led to the delays in the payment of salaries to public servants in the past few months, Mr Sottie said such problems began when the government payroll started running fully on the Oracle software popularly known as the Integrated Personnel Payroll and Database (IPPD2) in October 2006.
According to him some of the problems encountered included overpayments, underpayments and recoveries of overpayments, among others.
One disturbing factor he mentioned was the fact that the pay details of public servants pay slips did not give enough details about how the net pay of workers were arrived at.
To address those anomalies, Mr Sottie pointed out that the software was upgraded to a newer version which took into consideration the problems encountered in the past.
Mr Sottie pointed out that the upgraded software was used to process the payroll of government workers for the first time in October 2008, adding that several controls had been built into the upgraded software to check errors and abuses.
Following the upgrading of the IPPD2 system, Mr Sottie said moneys which were overpaid to workers were recovered but during the recovery process, it was observed workers were severely affected.
Consequently, Mr Sottie stated that the recoveries were suspended for investigation to establish beyond reasonable doubts that all the recoveries were correct before effecting the deductions.
He also admitted that his department was mindful of the fact that the overpayments did not result from the fault of the workers hence the need to spread the recoveries over a long period to ameliorate the suffering of workers.
Mr Sottie disclosed that all arrears due staff before the commencement of IPPD2 in June and October 2006 had been paid, adding that overpayment recoveries had also been refunded while investigations continued.
He once again apologised to all workers for any inconvenience caused them during the upgrading of the IPPD2.
The Controller and Accountant-General assured workers that his doors were wide open, and for that matter they should not hesitate to bring to his knowledge problems they were encountering in connection with their salaries.

Lotto operators go to Supreme Court

Friday, December 12, 2008 (Page 31)

THE Ghana Lotto Operators Association (GLOA) has filed a motion praying the Supreme Court to quash the proceedings which led to the dismissal of an application for injunction pending an appeal against the outlaw of private lotto in the country.
The GLOA had sued the National Lottery Authority (NLA) and maintained that its rights to free market activity had been impinged upon by the NLA following the passage of the National Lottery Authority (NLA) Act 2006, Act 722, but the Fast Track High Court dismissed the application, prompting the GLOA to appeal.
After filing the appeal, the GLOA filed another application praying the court to stay execution of its judgement pending the outcome of the appeal which it (GLOA) said had a good chance of success.
However, on November 4, 2008, the court, presided over by Mr Justice K.A. Ofori-Atta, said the appellants were not able to assert their right to the law of equity.
Following the lower court’s decision, the GLOA filed the application to invoke the supervisory jurisdiction of the Supreme Court to quash the Fast Track High Court’s proceedings on October 22, 2008 which led to the subsequent dismissal of its application for injunction.
It is also praying the Supreme Court to order the stay of execution of the court’s ruling which the GLOA said impinged on its right to access to free market activity.
According to the GLOA, the learned trial judge lacked the jurisdiction to hear the application for injunction pending appeal.
The application is expected to be moved on Tuesday, January 13, 2009.
The grounds of the motion were that the matter challenging the constitutionality or otherwise of the Lotto Act had been put before Mr Justice Edward Asante after it was transferred from Mr Justice Anthony Abada’s court by the Chief Justice.
In its statement of case, the applicant stated that Mr Justice Asante adjourned hearing of the case to October 22, 2008 but on the next adjourned date it emerged that Mr Justice Asante was on leave and for that matter a court clerk adjourned it to November 6, 2008.
“On the same day of October 22, 2008, the case was called at the High Court Fast Track 2 presided over by Mr Justice Ofori-Atta who heard submissions in the absence of the applicant and its counsel. The learned trial judge then adjourned the pending application for ruling on November 4, 2008,” it stated.
It further argued that on November 4, 2008, counsel for the applicant appeared before the court and objected to the delivery of the ruling on the grounds that the judge lacked jurisdiction to hear the application and deliver a ruling.
According to the applicant, “since the case was transferred to Justice Asante by an order from the Chief Justice, it is only another order from the Chief Justice that can put the case before him (Justice Ofori-Atta) to determine”.
The applicant argued that “in the absence of an order of transfer and any evidence confirming its existence, Justice Ofori-Atta overruled our objection and proceeded to dismiss the application for injunction pending appeal”.
Citing authorities to support its argument, the applicant held that it was evident that the registrar of the Fast Track High Court, and not the Chief Justice, transferred the case to Justice Ofori-Atta’s court.
“The registrar sought to arrogate to himself the powers of the Chief Justice, which he did not have, and had no authority of the Chief Justice to act in that regard,” the GLOA stated.
The Fast Track High Court’s judgement banning private lotto followed an application by the NLA, which prayed the court to dismiss the plaintiff’s suit on the premise that the Supreme Court had declared the Lotto Act constitutional and, for that reason, there was no basis for the substantive suit to continue at the lower court.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Security tight at Electoral Commission headquarters

Wednesday, December 10, 2008 (Centre Spread)

HEAVY security has been mounted at the offices of the Electoral Commission (EC) where the Presidential and Parliamentary results are being collated.
Roads leading to the EC premises have been barricaded by heavily armed police officers. The atmosphere on the EC premises was calm when the Daily Graphic visited around 1.20 p.m. yesterday to ascertain the situation there.
Police sources told the Daily Graphic that they were detailed to provide security on the EC premises on a 24-hour basis since Friday, December 5, 2008.
The officers did not allow media personnel to enter the EC yard with the explanation that they (security personnel) had been ordered to inform media personnel to shift to the International Press Centre for official results.
According to police sources, only representatives of the political parties were allowed into the strong room where the results were being collated.
Vehicles belonging to the EC were allowed into the EC yard while other motorists were searched and questioned before they were allowed to use the road leading to other parts of the city.
Pedestrians who used the routes leading to the EC were also questioned before they were allowed to enter.
Those who did not give satisfactory explanation as to why they were using the routes were turned away.
A pocketful of supporters from all the political parties were spotted either sleeping in their cars parked at a specially designated car park about 150 metres from the EC yard or raptly listening to results from the various constituencies through their radio sets or their mobile phones.
Others gathered round radio sets and listened to the results.
Some of the supporters looked bewildered, tired, cheerful while others simply looked indifferent while the results came in.
It was also observed that the supporters were not in their party colours. They wore ordinary clothes.
Some of the supporters said they had been waiting outside for the past 24 hours while others said they arrived at the EC premises a few hours ago.
The supporters were kept at bay by the police personnel who had been detailed to provide security, as well as ensure law and order.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Wait for certified results - Chief Imam

Tuesday, December 9, 2008 (Back Page Lead)

THE National Chief Imam, Sheikh Usman Nuhu Sharabutu, has advised Ghanaians to wait for the presidential and parliamentary results to be certified by the Electoral Commission (EC) before jubilating.
He further advised political parties and their followers to patiently wait for the results to be collated and certified by the EC in order to avoid any form of chaos in the country.
The Chief Imam in his Eid-ul-Adha (Feast of Sacrifice) message to Muslims and Ghanaians, stated that Ghana was being closely watched by the international community and it was important for Ghanaians to ensure that Ghana maintained her enviable position as a country of peace.
In an interview with the Daily Graphic, the Chief Imam stated that it was God who chooses leaders and therefore Ghanaians must support those who would emerge as winners of the parliamentary and presidential elections.
Speaking through a translator, the Chief Imam said it was also important for Ghanaians to be tactful and tolerant during the counting of the ballots through to the declaration of the winner of the presidential elections by the EC.
He said Ghana was larger than any political party hence it was important for Ghanaians to preserve the prevailing peace in the country.
The Chief Imam further pleaded with Muslims, Christians, traditional believers and other religious faiths to eschew all forms of hostility and live in peaceful co-existence.
According to him, the existence of peace facilitates development, adding that development would in turn improve the living standards of all.
Sheikh Sharabutu said although these groups were of different faiths, they were God's creation who emerged from Adam and Eve.
Earlier, hundreds of Muslims thronged the Independence Square to pray for peace and prosperity on the occasion of this year's Eid-ul-Adha celebrations.
They were led in prayer by the Chief Imam, who said prayers for peace, tolerance and prosperity to prevail in the country.
Eid-ul-Adha, the festival of sacrifice celebrated by Muslims all over the world, is the culmination of the Hajj, one of the five pillars of Islam.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Remain calm as ballots are counted

December 08, 2008 (Page 3)

GHANA'S Ambassador to the United States of America (USA), Dr Kwame Bawuah-Edusei has appealed to Ghanaians to remain calm and resolute to preserve the peace while counting of ballot papers is underway in the 2008 Presidential and Parliamentary elections.
"This is the critical moment, investors are watching us and we must endeavour to prove to the world that Ghanaians are peace loving," Dr Bawuah-Edusei stated.
According to the Ambassador Ghana was the black star of Africa and for that matter it was important for her to maintain the prevailing peace.
"If we are able to hold tight and keep the true Ghanaian tradition of being friendly and peace loving people, it will entreat the confidence of investors in our economy," Dr Bawuah-Edusei pointed.
He gave the assurance that he had interacted with investors in developed and emerging economies and they had all expressed their interest to invest in Ghana's economy.
He said the investors were willing to come in and invest in Ghana and stated that it was important for Ghanaians to allow the due process to take its course while counting of ballot papers are ongoing.
The Ambassador gave the assurance that there will be more investment especially when Ghanaians exercised decorum and ensured an incident-free election.

Massive turnout • For the 2008 general elections

December 08,2008 (Part of Collated Lead Story on Presidential and Parliamentary elections)

Ghanaians yesterday poured out in astonishing numbers to cast their votes in Presidential and Parliamentary elections that were generally peaceful in most of the 22,000 polling stations across the country.
At Tema, George Sydney Abugri & Rose Hayford-Darko report that voting was generally peaceful and orderly in the Tema Metropolis and Ashaiman Municipality.
Queues were especially long and winding at the Redemption Valley and Low Cost Electoral Area Polling Stations at Community Nine, VALCO Numbers One and Two Polling Stations at Community Four, the Holy Child Nursery and the Holy Child School Polling Stations at the Sakumono Estates and the Sakumono Primary School Polling Station at the Sakumono Village.
Many voters waiting patiently in queues in the hot sun to vote, told the Daily Graphic that they went to the polling stations as early as 4 am. Most cited their determination to influence the choice of their representatives in Parliament in the next government and the choice of the country’s next president, as the source of their motivation.
As of twelve noon, no incidence of violence or serious disputes had been reported in the port city and its suburbs except for a reported slight skirmish at Bethlehem near Ashaiman, over alleged attempts by some voters to jump the queue.
A tour of the usually busy communities of the metropolis revealed totally deserted streets.
The electoral officers were ready at the polling stations as early as 6 am to receive the polling materials.
According to the Tema Regional Electoral Officer, Mr Michael Boadu, a total of 471,185 people were expected to cast their votes in the Tema Region made up of Tema, Ashaiman, Adenta and Kpone-Katamanso at 423 polling stations.
At the Datus polling station in Tema East, a voter, Gabriel Asante, said he started queuing at 12 am to enable him to secure a position to vote early.
The Presiding Officer at the Ashaiman TMA No. 1 polling station, Mr Andrew Nartey, said their materials arrived at about 8.30 am but voters were patient.
Materials arrived at the Roman Catholic School polling stations at Ashaiman at 7.30 am but as of 8.40 am they still had not received stamp pads, a situation that compelled the Presiding Officer, Mr Kojo Summaila, to purchase one.
The few problems that were encountered by the polling stations included the late arrival of transfer lists and some voters jumping queues.
The Public Relations Officer of the Tema Regional Police Command, Inspector Olivia Turkson, said security personnel were deployed to the various polling stations at 3 am.
Kate Baaba Hudson reports from Kpone-Katamanso that voting at the various polling stations in the Kpone-Katamanso Constituency in the Tema Municipality went on smoothly as voters formed queues orderly and patiently and waited for their turn.
Most of them called at the stations very early in the morning to form queues while others waited till midday to cast their votes.
Some of the voters had been there about 8 p.m. on Saturday, while others got there at about 4 a.m.
Voting in these areas also started early as election officials and materials arrived early for a take-off at 7 a.m.
As of 8.50 a.m. at the Katamanso Presby Kindergarten, Nursery and Primary School, the Presiding Officer for Penkwai, Ms Margaret Mettle, said 236 had cast their votes out of the 821 who were expected to vote there.
She said from the way the voting was going on, the exercise would be over before 5 p.m.
Mr Divine Azamati, the Polling Assistant, said 712 people were expected to vote in that area, but as of 9 a.m. 166 people had cast their votes.
No incidents were recorded there, but two people who transferred their votes to the area were not allowed to vote, because they did not have their transfer letters and the codes did not match that of the polling centre, and there were some skips in the numbering in some of the registers.
The Chief of Kubekro, Nii Mensah Bossah II, who had already voted when the Daily Graphic spoke to him by 9 15 a.m., advised all voters to go back home after casting their votes.
He said people could wait patiently in their homes for the results and urged those who wished to call at the collation centres to witness the collation, to do so in a peaceful manner.
At the Appolonia Methodist Primary School electoral area, the Presiding Officer, Cornelius Mensah, said voting started at 7 a.m.
He said 719 people were expected to vote in the area, but 216 had voted as of 9.30 a.m.
At the Kpone Methodist Primary Polling Station, Mr Shadrack Tetteh, the Returning Officer, said 2,800 people were expected to vote at the area, which had been split into two, but only 577, made up of 319 and 258 for the two divisions respectively, had voted by 10.40 a.m.
From Ablekuma Central, Gifty Bamfo reports that there was large voter turnout at the Ablekuma Central Constituency as voters started queuing a day before the elections.
A woman who gave her name as Aba Owiaba, a voter from Apam at Polling Station A at the Odorkor Police Barracks, said she slept over at the station to enable her to vote early. At about 6:20 when the Daily Graphic got there the ballot boxes and papers were being arranged for the voting to commence.
As of 6:45 a.m. when the Daily Graphic got to the JT cluster of schools, which had four polling stations namely Mataheko 2 Boys JHS (A and B), Mataheko 1 Girls JHS (A and B) no ballot material had arrived.
The presiding officers of the polling stations said they had contacted the EC for the materials to be delivered.
There were winding queues as most of the voters arrived before 3:00 a.m. with a lot of the aged among them. An 84-year-old woman who gave her name as Grace Ayittey said she arrived at the polling station at about 5:00 a.m. in the morning to vote but had to wait for the ballot papers.
As of the time the Daily Graphic was leaving the polling stations, most of the party agents including the National Democratic Congress (NDC), New Patriotic Party (NPP), Convention People’s Party (CPP) and the Democratic Freedom Party (DFP) had arrived and were waiting for voting processes to begin.
At the Mataheko Pentecost polling station the ballot papers arrived at 6:45 a.m. with voters starting to vote at exactly 7:00 am with priority being given to the aged and pregnant women.
The Presiding Officer at the station, Mrs Rich-Joyce Amarh, said the electoral process was smooth as all the party agents had arrived and were co-operating.
In an interview with a pregnant woman who gave her name as Sophia, after voting, she said she voted for the NPP because she was enjoying the free maternal care, adding, “I want Nana to win so that I can also give birth for free”.
At about 6:50 am the ballot materials for Temporary Booths A and B had arrived and voters started casting their votes at exactly 7:00 am. The presiding officers at both stations said the voter turnout was encouraging and they were expecting more voter turnout by the end of the process.
Party agents for the NDC, NPP and CPP were the only ones present as of 8:05 a.m. when the Daily Graphic was leaving for other stations.
The party agents said voters comported themselves very well and they were hopeful the whole process would be peaceful.
At 10:45 a.m. when the Daily Graphic got to the Temporary Booth Success Cinema hall stations A and B electoral procedures were ongoing without queues.
The presiding officers said the ballot materials arrived on time and so voting started at exactly 7:00 a.m. with about 760 people having cast their ballot out of the expected 2315 voters.
Only party agents from the NPP and NDC were present at the station.
At the People’s Shop in West Russia electoral processes were going on smoothly.
The presiding officer at the station said there was one physically challenged man who was assisted by his wife to go through the voting process.
At the Police Quarters A and B about 674 voters had cast their votes out of the expected 2933 registered voters.
The presiding officers said the electoral processes were smooth as all party agents had been represented apart from the DFP and PNC.
In an interview with some of the voters they said the voting process was peaceful and they were praying it would end like that at the end of the voting process.
Kwame Asante, a footwear seller, in an interview with the Daily Graphic after voting said “ I voted for the NPP because I am happy with what president Kufuor has done so far. I want Nana to continue with it”.
Another voter, Rosemond Dorkunu, said she voted for the NDC because she was not happy with the present government and was hoping for a change in government.
A 19-year-old JHS dropout who gave his name as Bernard Kodua after voting told the Daily Graphic that he voted for the NPP because Nana Akufo-Addo had promised free senior high school education and so was hopeful he would go back to school when he came to power.
In the Adenta Constituency, Severious Kale Dery reports that it was a mixed feeling of anxiety and enthusiasm that characterised the mood of voters as they waited patiently to cast their votes at most of the polling stations at the Adenta Constituency in the Greater Accra Region.
At the Adenta Community School, Presbyterian School, Holy Rosary Roman Catholic School, the Adenta Pharmacy, the Vineyard Church and the Sunbeam Montessori polling stations, eligible voters formed long winding queues as early as 3.00 a.m. in anticipation of the commencement of the voting exercise.
When the Daily Graphic visited these polling stations around 5.00 a.m., voters were set awaiting the arrival of the Electoral Commission (EC) officers.
Some prospective voters the Daily Graphic spoke to said they got to the polling stations as early as 3.00 a.m. so that they could vote early and go back home.
But the inability of newly registered eligible voters to locate their polling stations dominated in almost all the polling stations in the constituency.
The worst affected polling station was the Adenta Community School, which was used as one of the registration centres for those who just turned 18 and those who had not registered before.
In spite of the fact that they were told where to vote on the voting day during the registration exercise, almost all those who registered at the Community School polling centre turned up there to vote and would not understand why they should be asked to go to another polling station.
The Presiding Officer of the station, Mr Daniel Tibu, had a hectic time redirecting such voters to their respective polling stations.
Another group of voters the presiding officers within the constituency had to deal with were the transfer voters, most of whom got to the polling stations very early in the morning, joined the queues only to be told to wait because the transfer voter list had not yet arrived.
Some of those who were redirected to their right polling stations or were asked to wait for the transfer list, decided to abandon the voting exercise altogether.
At the Holy Rosary School polling stations, while the polling station ‘A’ had all the EC documents to start with the exercise, the station ‘B’ was yet to receive the transfer list as of 11.30 a.m. when the Daily Graphic was leaving the station.
The presiding officers and the party agents at both ‘A’ and ‘B’ were okay with the arrangement so far at the two stations. The Presiding Officer at the ‘B’, Mr Michael Wormenor, explained that he had contacted the EC office and the transfer list would be sent in as soon as possible.
He said those who reported the polling station with transfer chits were asked to wait for the arrival of the list.
The Presiding Officer at the Adenta Pharmacy, Mr Peter Mante, said the problem as to where eligible voters were to cast their votes were because most people did not visit the polling centres during the voter exhibition exercise.
Voting was going on smoothly in most of the polling stations that the Daily Graphic visited in the Ayawaso West Wuogon Constituency, reports Vance Azu.
At the University of Ghana, Legon, voting at all the poling stations on campus, namely Volta, Legon, Mensah Sarbah and Commonwealth halls, had been peaceful and orderly.
It was only at the Akuafo Hall polling centre where one of the electoral teams failed to turn up as of 11 a.m.
As a result, the Presiding Officer, Mr Isaac Acquah, was handling the nearly 500 voters in the queue out of the 3000 duly registered voters who were expected to cast their votes.
At the Jack and Jill School at Roman Ridge, the presiding officer said voting was orderly and the centre had not encountered any problems yet.
As early as 3 a.m., voters had started queuing at the polling centres in the Dome-Kwabenya Constituency to cast their votes, reports Hannah Amoah.
Some voters had brought along chairs from their homes so as to sit comfortably and wait for their turn to vote.
When the Daily Graphic visited about eight polling stations, the atmosphere was calm and voting was going on smoothly.
At the Anglican polling station at Dome, there was chaos when voting was about to start as some voters tried to jump the queue.
The Presiding Officer, Mr Adjei Ababio, called in for police reinforcement before calm was restored as the two police personnel detailed to the centre could not control the crowd.
Apart from the omission of names of voters from the register, others were asked to go to other polling stations to cast their votes after queuing for long hours.
At the Atomic Hill School Temporary Booth B, security personnel had to calm the voters, since the electoral officers were allowing the aged and those carrying babies to vote first.
As of 10 a.m. more than 1000 voters had voted in about four polling stations in the Dome-Kwabenya Constituency.
At the Novelty Polling Centre, some voters refused to vote for a parliamentary candidate because they claimed they did not see the need to vote for one.
The Presiding Officer at the Akakpo Dome Temporary Booth, Mr Emmanuel Dornoo, expressed his displeasure at the behaviour of the MP of the area, Prof. Mike Oquaye, when he shook hands with voters who were about to cast their votes and contended that such behaviours were not allowed at polling centres.
From the Korle-Klottey Constituency, Rebecca Quaicoe Duho reports that voting was delayed for 20 minutes at the Public Works Department (PWD) Castle polling station.
The polls finally began at 7.20 a.m. and a total of 260 people had voted as of 10 am and the Presiding Officer, Mr Richard Mingle, in an interview said a total of 1,103 persons including Former President Flt. Lt. Jerry John Rawlings, were expected to cast their vote.
According to him, the voting materials, which arrived at 7 am, was short of Absent Voters’ List and the Enumeration Forms but he said that was not going to cause any problem, since they could rely on the list from the political parties polling agents to cross-check when people arrived with ID cards but could not find their names in the voters register.
At the Arts Centre Polling Station ‘A’ and ‘B’ where a total of 2,221 people were expected to exercise their franchise, a long queue was observed as people patiently waited for their turn to vote.
Speaking to the Presiding Officer of the polling station ‘A’, Mr Chris Addo-Adodo, he said voting started at 7:15 am and as of 10:35 a total of 321 had voted and the process was moving on smoothly.
The officer at the polling station ‘B’, Mr Frank Nene-Yullie, also said so far everything was moving on smoothly.
He said a total of 300 people had voted as of 10:40 am and he was hopeful that everything would be as peaceful as it started.
He was observed busily sorting out people who had misplaced their ID cards and also those who had transferred their votes to the centre.
At the Cristal City Temporary Booth in Adabraka, ballot papers were brought in after 8 am as anxious voters had queued since dawn to cast their votes.
The ballots papers were being counted before voting as of 8:12 am when the Daily Graphic got to the centre.
A voter at the centre told the Daily Graphic that a wrong register was brought to the centre at 7 am and it had to be taken back resulting in the delay.
A visit to some selected polling stations within the Dadekotopon Constituency revealed that voting materials were received after 5:00 am and voting started at exactly 7 am, reports Mary Mensah.
Some of the voters indicated that they got to the polling stations at about 3:00 am in order to cast their vote early and go home to wait for the results.
There are about 113 polling stations within the constituency with 108,556 eligible voters who are expected to cast their votes and at some of the polling stations almost half of the eligible voters had already cast their vote while some were virtually empty.
At the Airport Police Station Polling station, the Former First Lady, Nana Konadu Agyeman-Rawlings, was one of the party agents.
Wearing a white lace attire, Nana Konadu said she was confident that the NDC would win the elections.
She said she cast her vote at the Ridge School but the materials delayed a bit so she had to go home and return later to cast her vote after which she proceeded to the Airport Police Station to act as a party agent.
Hilda Owusu reports from the Okaikwei South Constituency that voting commenced in the South Okaikoi Constituency amidst a calm and peaceful atmosphere as prospective voters waited patiently in queues for their turn to exercise their franchise.
When the Graphic team got to the AMA Revenue office at Bubiashie, some members of the public told this reporter that they got there as early as 2:00 am in order to be able to vote on time and leave for their respective homes.
Others were seated comfortably in plastic chairs that they had brought from their homes as they did not know when it would be their turn to vote. According to the Presiding Officer, Mr Emmanuel Aryeequaye, out of the expected 1048 voters who were supposed to cast their vote, about 155 had voted as of 7:45 am.
The voting was devoid of problems except that some persons were not allowed to vote because according to the Presiding Officer, their names were not in the transfer list. Of particular interest was a couple who had travelled all the way from Kumasi to cast their vote and as of the time of filing this report, the couple had still not voted.
After casting her vote, Eva, a businesswoman, told the Daily Graphic that she was impressed with the voting process so far and although she got there at 5:00 am, she was able to vote at 8:00 am. She even went a step further to disclose that she voted for the ruling party, the New Patriotic Party (NPP).
The situation was no different at the Anglican JSS, it was peaceful, calm and orderly. However, patronage was low and as explained by the Presiding Officer, Mr Joseph Quartey "it looks like some of them have gone to church, we hope that they get back soon enough to vote. So far 150 have voted and we are expecting 469 voters from this polling station."
Both the Bubiashie Bishop Boys A and B polling stations started voting on time with the prospective voters doing well to comport themselves. The presence of the security service and other observers provided a peaceful atmosphere for the election process. Representatives of the major political parties were present to witness the voting process.
The Accra Academy Hall A and B was almost without activity. According to the Presiding Officer, Mr Henry Johnson, "I don't know whether it is because this year's elections fell on Sunday so people are resting before voting. Last year was quite different but we're hopeful that they would turn up in their numbers before voting closes as 5:00 pm."
At the same polling station, some members were aggrieved due to the fact that the transfer list had not arrived to enable them to vote.
Turnout at the St Theresa Preparatory School A and B was massive. Out of the expected 1403 voters, more than 400 had already cast their vote with quite a sizeable number still waiting for their turn. According to Abdul Rahman Salifu, the Presiding Officer, there had been an increase in the number of voters this year and so far, the voting process had been peaceful.
Kwaemu Herbal Clinic also had a peaceful voting process.
Elise Beacom & Emma Ballantine Dykes report that residents of Jamestown and the surrounding area defied 'flashpoint' predictions this morning, casting their votes in a calm and orderly manner.
The high number of international observers found patrolling the Odododiodoo Constituency reflected expectations of voter agitation, but those fears did not materialise.
Representatives from the British and Australian High Commissions were spotted questioning Presiding Officers at the polling stations and keeping a close eye on proceedings.
However, one observer from the British High Commission confirmed that she and her team were under strict instructions not to interfere in the process.
There was evidence nonetheless that the scrutiny of external observers was motivating EC officials and security personnel to act professionally.
From Jamestown to Makola, Presiding Officers from the Electoral Commission (EC) reported a quiet and problem-free start to the day’s exercise.
In some areas as many as a third of registered voters had already visited the polling booths by 9 am, seemingly anxious to cast their vote as early as possible.
Some had reportedly begun queuing as early as 2 am.
On her way to the polling booth, Ms Martha Akorsah expressed confidence in her fellow voters, saying that most Ghanaians were not rowdy by nature.
A mild source of confusion was that a number of people turned up at the wrong polling station, but no one was allowed to vote where they had not been registered or legitimately transferred.
The Presiding Officer at the notorious Richard Akwei Memorial School polling station, Mr Wilson Amartifio, reported more worrying instances of voters claiming to have forgotten to complete one of their two ballot papers.
He said, however, that his team had been ruthless in ensuring that nobody was allowed back into the voting area on such a pretext.
In the Kinka area of Odododiodoo Presiding Officer Gloria Bulley said a handful of people had arrived at the station having lost their voter identification cards, but said the photo-registers had made it easy to identify them.
A relaxed group of police officers congregated outside Jamestown Police Station looking confident that their cells would remain empty.
Jennifer Dornoo & Leticia Ohene-Asiedu report from the Okaikwei North Constituency that as early as 1:00 am, registered voters had already trooped to the polling stations awaiting the arrival of election officials and materials to cast their vote.
Some of the voters were seen lying on mats with others sitting on benches and plastic chairs as they waited for the electoral process to begin at 7 am.
At the Happy Home School where voting started at 7:25 am, a party agent who refused to disclose his identity said on arrival of the ballot boxes, the parliamentary box had two of its seals removed.
According to him, the two ballot seals bearing the codes 3113900 and 3113916 were removed from the box when it arrived leaving only one seal with the code 3113999.
He said this was a bit alarming, since they could not find out whether the ballot box with the materials in it had been tempered with or not.
The party agent therefore said no explanation had been given to them as to the whereabouts of the two seals when the EC representatives were questioned.
Most of the electorate in the constituency were not satisfied with the work of the EC, since they could not find their names in the register at the polling stations they registered.
At the Lapaz video centre, a voter, Mr A. Ziguanty, complained bitterly that he had been voting at that particular polling station since the year 2000 but was disappointed when he could not find his name in the register.
“I even checked my name in the voters register recently when the EC asked us to and I found my name. How could my name mysteriously vanish,” he said.
He said he had visited three other polling stations but could still not find his name.
At the Emmanuel Gospel Ministries, a lady who gave her name as Matilda was refused her right to vote because she wore an artificial nail.
She was later allowed to vote due to the intervention of some electorate who protested.
At the Alhaji Abass polling station, electoral materials arrived at the centre as late as 8:20 am delaying the start of the electoral process, which finally started at 9:30 am.
At stations such as Four Square Gospel Church, the Apostolic Church of Ghana, Gospel Believers Outreach Church and the Christian Mission College, electoral process started at exactly 7 am with a peaceful and serene atmosphere.
At the Ledzokuku Constituency in Accra, Daniel Nkrumah reports that voting was generally peaceful with indications of high voter turnout.
There was security presence in all polling stations and other commercial activities were going on briskly with food vendors evidently making good business.
Many voters exuded great enthusiasm as they queued to cast their ballots, and away from the polling stations, pockets of the youth gathered to discuss issues of the election, some jokingly taunting others with their party slogans.
Yet, there were a few cases of reported infractions and Clement Adongo, 19, found himself behind the bars at the Teshie Police Station, after he was arrested at the Presby Polling Station where he was alleged to have attempted to vote with a fake voters ID.
“We are still investigating the issue to come out with the real facts,” the police investigator dealing with the case, Agyei K. Adusei, told the Daily Graphic.
Around mid-day most polling stations visited had recorded a voter turnout of close to half the number of registered voters. At the Asesewa Polling Station at Teshie out of a total number of 1254 registered voters, 508 had voted and there were still long queues of voters.
“It has been very smooth,” Nii Otoo Lartey, Presiding Officer at the Anglican Polling Station at Teshie, told the Daily Graphic.
At the Lascala Cinema Polling Station, the Presiding Officer, Leslie Tetteh-Mensah, said voting had been smooth except for the issue of transferred voters who were still in limbo as the transfer list had yet not arrived.
“It’s about 10.30 am and we still waiting for the transfer list so that those who had transferred their votes can vote,” he told the Daily Graphic.
However, that was not the case at the Anglican Polling Station where party agents and electoral officials agreed to have the transfer voters cast the ballots despite the fact that the transfer list had not yet arrived.
Caroline Boateng reports from the Nadat Memorial School Polling Station in West Adenta, in the Madina Abokobi Constituency, that a huge crowd gathered at the polling station as early as 4 a.m. to cast their ballots.
Some sent their children, wards and house-helps ahead to join the long winding queue till the vote started at 7 a.m.
Electoral materials and logistics arrived at the polling station at 5:15, by which time the electoral officer in charge of the station, Mr Alhassan Hudu, was already at post with assistants to take delivery of materials.
An immigration officer and a policeman were also at post to keep the process orderly and peaceful.
The polling officer, giving a brief of events, said there were 1879 voters on the register of that station with 31 names on the transfer list.
He said he was not expecting any shortages of materials, since he had more than 2000 ballot papers, which was more than the number of voters on the register.
The Obenetso Shishi Polling Station is perhaps the hottest spot in the Krowor Constituency, as two incidents were recorded this morning, reports Samuel Doe Ablordeppey.
When voting started early this morning, some of the electorate and residents in the area protested a billboard of the political parties standing right opposite the polling station.
The Presiding Officer at the polling station, Mr William-Wilson Techie-Young, told the Daily Graphic that he instructed that the billboard be pulled down as the protests nearly marred the smooth voting process.
A second incident, which occurred around 11.25 am, involved a voter who was alleged to be engaged in double voting. One of the polling agents who had spotted him earlier in the queue, raised an alarm that attracted the attention of people in the area who trooped to the Obenetso Shishi Polling Station to prevent the alleged voter from voting again.
The presiding officer quickly called a Police Rapid Deployment Force whose timely intervention restored calm to the polling station.
At the time of the visit, more than a third of the 959 registered voters had cast their votes smoothly.
Although the Nungua Secondary School Polling Station has one of the highest voter populations in the constituency, voting was smooth.
The Presiding Officer, Mr Ken Bray, told the Daily Graphic that the station had not recorded any incident, except for a teaming number of people who could not find their names on the transfer list. The polling station has 2,341 registered voters.
About 40 people had been told to wait patiently as they await a returning officer to advise on how to deal with the large number of people who were carrying slips showing they had completed the transfer of their name to that polling station but could not trace it on the list.
Other Polling Stations visited in the Krowor Constituency, where voting was generally smooth and incident free, included the Nungua Presby J.H.S., ACC 1&2 Primary, the A.M.A. Anglican Cluster of Schools, the Christ Apostolic Church Polling Station and Nungua Presec.
Voting generally started smoothly and on time in the East Ayawaso Constituency in Accra, reports Musah Yahaya Jafaru.
All the 119 polling stations received their voting materials by 6:30, with majority of them starting at exactly 7:00 a.m. Some of the polling stations, however, delayed for between five and 25 minutes.
Some of the electorate started forming queues as early as 4:00 a.m. This reporter saw a long queue of between 100 and 250 people as of 5:30 p.m. at the Mountain Zion, Dunia Cinema, Nima Post Office polling stations.
Virtually all the polling stations visited by the Daily Graphic in the constituency depicted an atmosphere of peace and order. There were no heckling or scuffles. The police officers seemed relaxed in their seats or on their feet as there were no confusion to warrant any response.
The long queues started reducing from 11:00 am, and by 12:00 p.m. there were no queues at some of the polling stations, and by 2:00 pm there were virtually no queues at all the polling stations.
The centres visited include Dunia Cinema, Nima Post Office, Kusuntu Line Mosque, Mountain Zion, Taxi Rank and Tahani polling stations.
The presiding officers told the Daily Graphic that there was no shortage of voting materials, and that they did not experience any problem. All the four polling assistants were at post.
Mr Kwesi Harrison, the Presiding Officer of the Dunia Cinema polling station, said "so far no confusion. Everything is moving on smoothly".
A total of 307 out of the 1,185 registered voters had voted at the station as of 10:38, while 50 people were still in the queue.
The presiding officer of the Taxi Rank polling station, Mr Norman Christian, told this reporter that he did not record any confusion or hitches at the station, which was confirmed by the police officer on duty.
The only minus, he said, was the inability of one of the four polling assistants to turn up.
As of 11:30 am, 200 people had voted at the station with a few people in the queue.
At the Nima Post Office polling station, the Presiding Officer, Mr Abdul-Karim Chere, said they started at 7:20 a.m. as they spent some time entering the number of the voting materials and organising themselves.
He said 295 had voted as of 10:50 am while 98 people were still in the queue. Asked whether they would extend the time of voting, since they started 25 minutes late, Mr Chere said he and his officers had not decided on that yet.
Some of the electorate told the Daily Graphic that the election would be peaceful despite the anxiety.
Mr Ibrahim Sambo conceded that there was so much tension in the country, but indicated that Ghanaians had matured politically to avoid any violent confrontation.
The people appealed to the political leaders to accept the outcome of the election to spare the nation any conflict or instability.
Eight parliamentary candidates are contesting the East Ayawaso Constituency seat. They are Alhaji Mohammed Salisu Baba of the NPP, Alhaji Mohammed Muftao of the PNC, Dr Mustapha Ahmed of the NDC, Mr Bernard Anvurr-Billy of the CPP, Sheikh Abdul-Karim Larry Amin of CPP, Mr Samuel Kwasi Gyasi of the New Vision Party, Mr Mohammed Amin Lamptey and Mr Daniel Danquah, both independent candidates.
At the Mt Olivet Methodist Church in the Ablekuma South Constituency, the ballot boxes together with other logistics arrived at about 6:50 a.m after the Head Pastor of the church, Right Reverend Awotwi Pratt, had led the electorate through prayers for a peaceful, transparent and violent-free election in the constituency, reports Edward Turkson.
Voting started at exactly 7 a.m. with most of the voters sitting relaxed on chairs waiting for their turn under the surveillance of one security person and polling agents from all the political parties including one agent for the only independent candidate, John Nana Kabutey Tettegah.
The Presiding Officer for the polling station, Mrs Janet A. Koranteng, expressed the hope that the exercise would be transparent and that the electorate would also comport themselves to ensure that the exercise becomes violent-free in the area as it had always been. As of the time of leaving the polling station about 120 people had already exercised their franchise and were peacefully leaving the station to their various homes, hoping to return in the evening to listen to the result.
At the Martin De Porres Preparatory School in the Ablekuma South Constituency the electorate complained that the materials arrived late and voting started at about 7:40 am. The queue at the station was very long and winding so some of the electorate had to sit on pavements awaiting their turns to exercise their franchise. At the time of leaving the station about 120 people had voted. The Presiding Officer, Mr Stephen Mintah-Bempong, was confident that the polls would be violent-free because the station and the constituency were noted for their patronage and violent-free elections. The process there was a bit slow for the electorate some of whom were eagerly awaiting their turn.
From the Shai Osudoku Constituency, the Presbyterian Primary Manyayiti Dodowa Electoral Area in the Dangme West District, voting materials were in as early as 6:25 a.m. and voting started at exactly 7 a.m. and according to the Presiding Officer, Gideon Maya, no problem had erupted. He said all those who had voted found their names in the actual register. In attendance were two security personnel, one from the Police Service and another from the Fire Service. Polling agents present were representatives of the NPP, NDC, CPP, PNC and DFP.
At the Dodowa Post Office Dwamomo Polling Station at Shai Osudoku in the Dangme West District, the materials arrived at 6:30 am and voters who had queued there had to wait till 7 a.m. for voting to begin. According to the Presiding Officer, Mr Timothy Johnson, registered voters in the area were 1050 and a transfer list of about 39 who had peacefully exercised their franchise. He said about 250 had already exercised their franchise by 9.00 a.m. and had returned to their various homes.
The station, he admitted, was noted for its incident-free elections and was hopeful that no chaos would be recorded in the area by the end of the day when counting begins.
At the Day Care Centre Zongo in Dodowa in the Dangme West District, the electoral materials, according to the Presiding Officer, Mr Sylvester Asare, arrived at about 6:15 a.m. and voting began at 7 a.m exactly. The registered voters in the area, he said, were 512 with about 13 transferred names. At about 10:37 am almost 237 voters had exercised their franchise and the station looked almost empty with the polling agents, one security person and the electoral officers sitting leisurely waiting for voters who had not yet turned up.
As of 11 am, there were no security personnel at the New Joma Polling Station at the Weija Constituency, reports Francis Yaw Kyei.
The Presiding Officer of the polling station, Miss Gladys Afeletey, said voting started at exactly 7am with all the party agents present.
When the Daily Graphic visited the Weija MA JHS polling station at 8:30 am, 100 people had already voted.
The Presiding Officer, Mr Raymond Kwame, was impressed with the way the people conducted themselves despite the huge turnout.
He said the people started forming the queue as early as 4 am and waited till voting commenced at 7 am.
Adeline Koramoah reports that high voter turnout and anxiety marked the opening of the polls in the Ablekuma South electoral area.
The elections in the area were generally peaceful and conducted in an atmosphere of quietness. However, in some stations where voting delayed because materials could not get to the centres on time.
At some polling stations the Daily Graphic visited, pockets of struggle among voters who had queued for long hours and could not wait till it got to their turn to vote were observed. Also there were sheer excitement especially among new voters who wished to vote early and retire to their various homes.
Except for the struggle for positions in queues and anxiety on the part of voters at Pentecostal Academy at Mpoase, the general election could be described as one of the most organised elections ever to be witnessed in the area.
On the premises of the academy, voters forced their way to the compound to be able to vote early, since they had run out of patience after staying in the queue for close to six hours but as of the time this reporter was leaving the place, calm had been restored as the police came in timely to bring the situation under control. As of 11 am, more than 200 people had cast their votes out of the over 2000 voters registered. In an interview the Presiding Officer for the area, Mr Stephen Kwakye, attributed the scuffle to the delay of the voting process and the late arrival of materials.
In another development, voting started at exactly 7 am at Star of the Sea Catholic Church polling station. As of 12:35 pm 361 people had voted out of the 750 voters who registered. Party agents who were at post included those of the CPP, PNC, NDC NPP and DFP. Though, there were no security personnel around, voting was peaceful.
At the Mamprobi Girls JHS polling station B, people were found in a long queue as of 5 am when this reporter got to the station. In an interview with 63-year-old Livingston Church Hill, he said he came to queue at 2:30 am, so that he could vote early to open his shop. He said “at 2:30, there was no car operating so I walked from Chorkor to that place just to exercise my franchise”. Another voter, Mr Douglas Torto, got to the station at 2:00 am and he was the third to vote. He said after voting, he would be around to monitor the process until counting took place. As of 9:00 am there were no security agents though voting was calm. Even though 1,770 people including transfer and proxy voters were expected to vote, 100 people had cast their vote as of 8: 45. At Polling Station B, 1,550 people were expected to vote. All party representatives were seen around monitoring the process keenly.
This was no different from that of Mamprobi Methodist Primary ‘B’; 1,150 eligible voters were expected to vote from that station. There were no security agents but the process was calm and peaceful. At Methodist Primary ‘A’, 1,128 voters were expected but a little over 200 had voted as of 11 am.
At Ebenezer SHS polling station, there was a long queue as people waited until it got to their turn to vote. Out of 1,495 voters, 237 had voted as at 11:45 am. This contrasted with what transpired at Dansoman SHS polling station where there was no queue as people had come and voted.
In all, voting was successful but for the transfer voters register that delayed at almost all the centres visited at in the Ablekuma South Constituency.
Boniface Ablekpe reports from Borkorborkor that turnout for yesterday’s Presidential and Parliamentary elections was very heavy at Borkorborkor junction, Ablekuma Anglican School, Anyaa last stop and Odorkor polling stations.
People started queuing as early as 3.30 a.m. at the Borkorborkor Junction. Many people carried plastic chairs and stools to the polling centre to join the queues.
Voting was orderly but the queues moved at a slow pace.
Sellers of sachet water, fruits, eggs and cooked food did brisk business.
This reporter joined the queue at about 5.30 a.m. at the Borkorborkor junction and was able to cast his votes by 2 p.m. When he was leaving the centre the queue was still very long with many doubting if they could cast their ballot before the mandatory closing time of 5 p.m.
Similar queues were also found at Ablekuma Anglican Junior High School polling centre, Anyaa Last Stop, Palas Town junction, and Odorkor.
There was only one female fire officer providing security at Borkorborkor junction and police and military patrols were quite irregular. Many were of the view that in view of the thick population at the Borkorborkor area it would have been better if the Electoral Commission had created some polling centres at Jorman and Paradise to save voters the tedium of standing in long queues and in the scorching sun.
The voting exercise in the Ga East District, which consists of Madina and Abokobi, commenced smoothly with a few drama at certain polling stations, reports Hadiza N. Billa Quansah.
At the K.B. Farms polling station at Oyarifa, a couple nearly brutalised the Presiding Officer, Madam Matilda Kwafo, simply because their names could be found in the voters register or the transfer list.
The couple, who were very furious, claimed they were asked to go to the Electoral Commission Office at Madina Abokobi to transfer their votes from Cape Coast to Oyarifa which they did. They therefore, did not understand why they would not be allowed to vote.
This brought the voting exercise to a temporary halt. However, after a heated argument they drove off and the exercise continued. As of 11:01 am more than half of the 779 registered voters had already voted and this was evident in the fullness of the ballot boxes.
Another interesting thing took place at the Teiman Roman Catholic Primary School polling station where the Chief of the town, Nii Maale Dzahani II, was prevented from casting his vote. This was because he could not provide his current Identity Card (ID card) and besides his name was not found in the voters register.
As a result, the Presiding Officer, Mrs Jemima Opoku, asked him to go and find his current ID card and bring it to enable him to exercise his franchise. With disappointment written all over his face, the chief walked away from the polling station.
At polling stations like the D/C Primary at Pantang, Daycare Centre, Akporman and Abokobi-Boi, most of the electorate had cast their vote. Therefore when the Daily Graphic got there between 11:20 am and 11:58 am security personnel, party agents and polling assistants were sitting comfortably chatting while others were having their meals.
In an interview, the Presiding Officer at Akporman, Madam Anto, who was about having lunch, said 400 names were on the voters register, however as of the time of the interview more than half had voted.
She explained that the people in that community were farmers; therefore, they queued as early as 3:00 am to vote early and went to their respective farms.
The situation at Madina township was different. In all the 20 polling stations visited most voters could not find their names in the voters register, checklist and on the transfer list. The Daily Graphic chanced upon two youngsters who just turned 18 and were almost in tears simply because their dream of voting for the first time could not materialised.
According to them, they left their homes at Spintex as early as 4:00 am to Madina to vote only to find out that their names did not appear on the registration list. The young girls, who are immediate past students of the Action Progressive Institute, said, ’’We registered at the Madina Police Station during the registration exercise. It is therefore unbelievable that we can’t find our names at the two centres situated at the Madina Police Station. Unfortunately, we were directed to go to Jako Cinema, Methodist Church and the SDA School to find our names but we couldn’t find it,” they lamented.
As of the time of going to press there were hundreds of people standing in long and winding queues waiting to vote at the Riz Hotel temporary booth, Social Welfare School, Jamcol near Maye Hot, Jako Cinema, Faith Community Baptist, Madina Estates Primary and JSS, PRESEC Primary, Central Mosque at Madina Zongo Junction and Madina Police Station polling stations.
Apart from the Jamcol polling station, all the rest mentioned had two stations thus Centre A and B, which were all crowded.
The number of people expected to vote at Social Welfare A and B centres were 584 and 1886 respectively. At the Madina Police Station, 2043 people were expected to vote while Madina Estate JSS had 1089 names on their list. Faith Community Baptist had 1435 registered voters at Centre A while Centre B had 1262 and 16 additional transfers.
Only two people contested for the parliamentary seat for Madina Abokobi. They are the sitting MP, Alhaji Amadu Sorogho of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), and Baba Zakaria of the New Patriotic Party (NPP).
At most of the polling stations visited party agents for the NDC and the NPP were represented while the rest were conspicuously missing.
Naa Lamiley Bentil reports from the Saviour International School polling station in the Ablekuma South Constituency that more than 200 voters had queued up as of 8:20 a.m.
The place was calm and serene in spite of the fact that some of the electorate got to the station as early as 2:00 a.m. and had still not voted at about 8:20 am due to the unavailability of election materials.
According to one voter, Mr James Titus Glover, he got to the station at 5:00 a.m and was 50th in the queue.
At Burma Camp, which is under the Dade Kotopon Constituency in the Greater Accra Region, officers and men of the Ghana Armed Forces (GAF) who could not vote on December 2, 2008 and their families thronged polling stations to cast their ballots, reports Mabel Aku Baneseh.
There was a long queue in most of the polling stations before 7.00 a.m., the designated time for the polls.
Voters at the El-Wak Barracks, Cantonments Post Office, Du-Bois Centre and Burma Hall polling stations patiently waited for their turn while their colleagues cast their ballots.
No incidents were recorded in all the polling stations because voters exercised a great sense of decorum during the ballots.
Majority of voters had cast their ballots as of 11.00 a.m. thereby allowing other voters who visited the polling stations after 11.00 a.m. to cast their ballots without joining any queue.