NDC polls: Unavailability of ballot papers delay voting in Navrongo Central

The late arrival of ballot papers held back the voting process in the ongoing National Democratic Congress (NDC) elections in Navrongo Central for hours.

The Navrongo Central has the highest number of 79 aspirants in the Upper East Region vying for 17 positions, with 1,167 delegates expected to vote.

By 7 am hundreds of delegates had gathered at the NH1 auditorium at the C.K Tedam University of Technology and Applied Sciences spilling into the school campus, to participate in the exercise to elect new constituency leadership.

The voting process, however, hit a snag as ballot papers which should have been printed and dispatched to the polling centre had not arrived.

After hours of uneasy wait, a section of aspirants and their supporters began to raise concerns over the delay yelling it could impact a free and fair election process.

They said some of the aspirants, who are able to afford, were taking advantage of the delay to engage in vote buying which could impact the quality of leaders elected.

Fausta Avio, an aspiring constituency organiser, said the delay could affect the electoral process.

“It is fifteen past twelve and there are no ballots, nobody is giving us a reason why the ballots are not in. It has given way for people to buy the elections. We need free and fair elections, but this cannot bring free and fair elections.”

He said the constituency elections directorate failed to communicate the challenge to aspirants, saying any compromise on the election would impact the party’s fortune in the 2024 general elections.

Alhassan Abubakarsu Waidu, a deputy communications officer aspirant, shared similar concerns. For him, the inability on the part of the party to deal with smaller challenges at the constituency level could affect its preparations towards the general elections in 2024.

“As of now that we are talking, it is 12:18 pm we’ve not been able to start and nobody has communicated with us. So, we’re saying that it is indicating to us that monumentally if care is not taken, what has happened to us in 2020 will replicate itself in 2024.”

Technical hitch
The delay in the voting process flared up tensions at the polling centre.

Supporters of aspirants who felt threatened by the ‘vote buying’ mounted pressure on the elections committee members to produce the ballot papers or risk disruption of the voting process.

The police were called in to restore calm.

Martin Aberba, the acting constituency director of elections, explained to the aspirants and delegates that the delay was due to technical hitches that the party structure at the regional level was working to resolve.

He, however, shot down concerns the delay could create a favourite ground for vote buying to thrive thereby affecting the calibre of leaders elected.

“Their concerns are genuine because we expected that by now the ballots would’ve been in but due to some technical hitches, we couldn’t get them in place as planned.”

“We understand their frustration, but we are pleading with them to exercise some bit of patience.”

“I don’t agree with that position that there’s voting buying at the polling centre. If there was vote buying, that would have been destroyed ago and not here.” He dismissed the allegations.

Source: asaaseradio

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