Voters in the Brong Ahafo Region who had formed queues this morning in earnest to exercise their franchise in the district assembly and unit committee elections left for their homes and business places in disappointment and with anger following the second postponement of the polls in the region by the Electoral Commission (EC).
The announcement by the regional office of the EC at 0800 hours on local FM radio stations about the postponement did not go down well with many of the voters as they openly criticized the government and the EC for the second postponement.
The highly anticipated district level elections across the country expected to take place last Tuesday, December 28 was rescheduled in all but two regions because of what the EC explained as “the inability of the printing houses to print the ballot papers for the conduct of the election”.
The polls were held in only the Central and Upper West regions on Tuesday.
The Brong Ahafo Region was one of the eight regions in which the elections were rescheduled to be conducted on Wednesday.
A survey conducted by the Ghana News Agency in Sunyani municipality showed that voters were eager to exercise their franchise and had trooped to the polling stations very early on Wednesday to cast their votes.
Some polling centres had chairs and tables arranged alright for the exercise but whilst some had polling agents at post ready for the elections others were empty of any officials including the polling officials.
When contacted, Mr. George Gyabaah and Mr. Samuel Boadu, Regional and Deputy Regional Directors of the EC respectively, told the Ghana News Agency that the current reforms in the electoral processes had necessitated the holding of the district assembly and unit level elections on the same day.
On the second postponement of the polls in the region they explained that some of the districts had not received the full complement of voting materials for both the district assembly and unit committee elections.
Mr. Gyabaah said it had become necessary to postpone the elections in all the 22 districts of the region, adding the elections would however be held in 17 of the districts on Thursday December 29 “if all the voting materials we expect to receive from Accra arrive by the close of Wednesday.”
“If we go ahead to conduct the assembly elections without the unit committee elections we will need more resources to be able to conduct the unit committee elections”, Mr. Boadu added.
He said the Commission had still not received any voting materials for Techiman, Wenchi, Kintampo North, Kintampo South and Asutifi districts and this had also compelled it to re-schedule the elections in those areas to Friday December 30.
“The number of district assembly and unit committee ballots for the five districts, which have not arrived is overwhelming”, Mr. Gyabaah stated.
Aspiring candidates for the district assembly elections in Nkoranza have complained that their supporters had become frustrated as a result of the postponement.
Mr Kofi Ohene Sakyi, aspirant for Nkoranza Adinkra-akyi electoral area, said the postponement had caused the people to lose valuable working hours and he feared they would not report for voting on December 30.
He said he had also spent money in organizing campaign team members to visit the people to canvass for votes for him.
Mr Kofi Adu, incumbent Assembly member for Kassardjan electoral area seeking to be re-elected, told the Ghana News Agency the people had travelled from other places to Nkoranza to vote and the postponement had affected their working hours.
Mr Peter Baffoe-Bediako, aspirant for Asuosu electoral area, said settler farmers in the area had to cross River Fia to vote at Nyinase and Kwafie and that because of the risk involved some of them might refuse to report tomorrow to vote.
Mr Iddrissu Fosu, an aspirant also of Adinkra-akyi, said he had spent money in feeding his supporters who came from other places to vote on Wednesday only to hear of the postponement of the elections.
Reports from other parts of the region including Techiman, Dormaa Ahenkro, Berekum and Kotokrom, Abesim and Wenchi showed that most voters were furious about the second postponement of the elections, with some of them vowing never to appear at the polling stations again to cast their votes.