Reports reaching DAILY GUIDE from preliminary results of both the Presidential and Parliamentary elections indicate a strong showing by the opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP), as it gains on the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDCâ€™s) traditional strongholds.
In NDC strongholds such as Osu Klottey, Ledzokuku, Krowor and Ningo Prampram in the Greater Accra, as well as Asutifi North in the Brong Ahafo Region and Asawase in the Ashanti Region, the ruling party is tottering under pressure from the NPP.
Already, there were unconfirmed reports of some NDC heavyweight ministers and MPs losing their seats in Accra, Ashanti and Brong Ahafo regions.
The smaller parties are nowhere to be found, as they polled paltry single figures. Not even Dr Paa Kwesi Nduomâ€™s Progressive Peopleâ€™s Party (PPP) could make any meaningful impact.
As at press time, results from preliminary counting were still filtering in. However, the process may hit a snag, as the Electoral Commission (EC) ordered an extension of the elections for today because of breakdown of machines.
For the first time in the history of general elections in Ghana, the Electoral Commission has ordered the extension of the elections by one more day from Friday, December 7 to Saturday, December 8, 2012.
It follows piecemeal approach of handling elections since NDC took over in 2009. During the district elections two years ago, the EC organized the elections in several days.
DAILY GUIDE gathered that this is due to the fact that there were massive delays with regard to when several polling stations received electoral materials.
Also, the confusion caused by the malfunctioning of verification machines that disenfranchised some electorate was partly attributed to the need for an urgent call for extension.
A statement released yesterday evening by the deputy Chairman of the EC in charge of Operations, Kwadwo Safo-Kantanka said, â€śThe Electoral Commission wishes to inform the general public especially registered voters in polling stations where voting did not start early due to the late arrival of election materials, that the Commission has an inbuilt mechanism that will make it possible for all eligible voters who are in the queue before 5:00pm to vote.
â€śAll eligible voters who are in queue before the close of polls at 5:00pm will be offered the opportunity to vote when the poll officially closes. The general public is entreated to be patient and allow the process to run smoothly.â€ť
This rather hasty plan by the EC has peeved the major political parties in the country, particularly the opposition NPP.
â€śThis is the first time in recorded electoral history that this has happened. The EC has put us on a slippery slope,â€ť stated Boakye Agyarko, the Director of campaign of the NPP.
The NPP is pushing for the already cast ballots to be counted and noted that was because they were certain that if the ballot boxes were moved from their current locations, they could easily be tampered with.
Sylvia Annor, Principal Public Relations Officer of the EC, insisted that the votes in the ballot would not be counted.
In an Interview on Oman FM last night, she said the critics could be rest assured because the verification machines had already captured the data of the cast votes.
But Boakye Agyarko and other top politicians condemned this move because already, there were reports of unscrupulous individuals who had smuggled in fake ballot boxes already filled with thumb-printed ballot papers in favour of the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC).
Already, even before a decision was taken over the impasse, the security services had begun carting away ballot boxes in some constituencies, particularly at Anyaa Sowutuom and Ablekuma.
â€śThe boxes should not be moved anywhere,â€ť stated Nii Armah Akomfrah, the Communications Director of the Conventions Peopleâ€™s Party (CPP).
An extremely angry director of campaign for the NPP thinks the ECâ€™s insistence not to count the already cast ballots would be a recipe for catastrophe.
Boakye Agyarko, who believes the EC has been given too much discretion, said it may be adamantly driving the country into a potential explosion.
â€śIf the EC continues to jeopardize the lines of this country, they would be held accountable,â€ť Boakye Agyarko stated.
Yesterday, voting across all the 275 constituencies nationwide started with isolated cases of delays and faulty biometric verification machines that raised temperatures in the affected polling stations.
Voting started as late as 2:00 pm in some centres across the country including the Northern, Greater Accra, and Volta regions, among others. As at 7.00am, the official commencement time of voting, when voters were expecting to vote for their choice of candidates, electoral materials were nowhere to be found in these places.
This caused agitations among voters, some of whom had queued since the previous night.
Akufo-Addo Sure Of Victory
TheÂ presidential candidateÂ of the largest opposition party, NPP, Nana Akufo-Addo, was given a rapturous welcome when he turned up at his hometown, Kyebi, in the Eastern Region with his wife and two of his daughters to vote in yesterday’s presidential and parliamentary elections, Thomas Fosu Jnr, reports from Kyebi.
As soon as his entourage got to the outskirts of the town around 10:30am, loud cheers by people standing by the roadside greeted them and as the crowd thickened, he meandered his way to the Rock of Ages Academy Polling Station at Kyebi, close to his house to vote with his family.
Enthusiastic residents mobbed him when he got down from his car with his wife, Rebecca Akufo-Addo and two daughters to cast their votes. The crowd also chanted ‘free education’.
Speaking to journalists after going through the voting process, Nana Akufo-Addo said he was very confident of winning the elections, looking at the current hardships Ghanaians were facing and the effort he had put in his campaign for the past two years.
He said he was happy that the voting process across the country as at the time he cast his vote around 11am had been generally peaceful.
He commended the Electoral Commission for doing a good job but said patchy reports of delayed voting materials were a bit worrying.
He expressed the hope that the EC would put measures in place so that every registered voter got the opportunity to exercise his or her franchise.
Nana Akufo-Addo said Ghanaians had shown that democracy had grown in the country, with most people exercising their franchise peacefully.
He was hopeful that if the process was thoroughly free, fair and transparent, every candidate would accept the results of the elections.
“I know Ghanaians will give the NPP the mandate to implement better policies for them,” he said.
Â By: Raphael Ofori-Adeniran