Tuesday, August 4, 2015

EC Ready For Delayed 2014 District Level Elections Set For September 1

Mr. Amadu Sulley, Deputy EC Chairman

A Deputy Chairman in charge of Operations at Ghana’s Electoral Commission (EC) Amadu Sulley, has declared that the body was well prepared logistically and financially to execute the delayed 2014 District Level Elections set for September 1 in all 6,114 electoral areas across the country.

“Almost all the ballot papers and other materials have been printed. As at last week, most of the printing houses confirmed that they had finished printing their materials even before the deadline of August 13. All biometric verification devices have also been loaded with data of electorates”, he explained.

At an engagement with civil society organisations and the media in Tamale last Friday, Mr. Sulley also revealed that, 19,009 and 43,584 candidates were to contest in the nationwide Assembly and Unit Committee elections respectively. 

In the Northern Region, 1,960 candidates are expected to contest in 705 electoral areas in 26 districts. Of this number, 1,882 are men while 78 are women. Compared to the botched elections in March 3rd, a total of 2,018 candidates were expected to contest, and of this number, 91 were women while 1,927 were men. 

Furthermore, the Yendi Municipality has the highest number of women contestants in the Unit Committee election, 56– whereas Mamprugu-Moaduri has only one woman contestant. On the other hand, the Tamale Metropolis also has the highest number of men contestants, 255– whereas the Mamprugu-Moaduri District has the lowest number of men contestants, 39.

Statistics have shown that in 1994, 122 women were elected Assembly Members nationwide as against 4,082 men.  196 women in 1998 as against 4,624 men whereas the year 2000 saw 341 women elected against 4,241 men. In 2006 433 women were elected as against 4,301 men. 

In the Northern Region, out of a total of 137 women that contested the District Assembly Elections in 2010, only 19 of them were voted. In that same year, while only one was elected to the Tamale Metro Assembly compared to 64 men, no woman was elected in nine other districts in the region. Overall, only 6 women in the entire region won the elections to become Assembly Members out of a total of 43 women who contested.  

But according to the 2010 Population and Housing Census, the population of the Northern Region was 2,479,461 representing about 10 percent of Ghana’s population. Of this figure, the male population was 1,229,887 whereas that of women was 1,249,574. This shows that the population of women in the region exceeded that of men by 19,687.

Some participants at the engagement expressed worry over likely low turnout of voters due to the inception of the rainy season in Northern Ghana. However, Mr. Sulley dispelled the concern expressed and hope by intense media publicity similar to the type associated with parliamentary and presidential elections, there should be high turnout at the various polling stations on voting day.

Mr. Sulley further urged all contestants to respect all regulations associated with the organisation of district level elections, warning that “anyone who flouts any of the regulations shall be disqualified, fined or banned from contesting future elections”.

Director of Human Resource and General Services at the EC’s head office Muhammed Adoquaye, appealed to journalists to assist the Commission to educate electorates as well as contestants going into the elections on September 1st.

He also urged election observers to know their roles and play them carefully and effectively, since there are instances some observers would want to take up the roles of election monitors saying “the two are completely different roles”. 

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