Drama unfolded Monday during the confirmation of a District Chief Executive nominee at Nabdam in the Upper East Region when an assembly man, after stamping his thumbprint on a ballot paper, flaunted the restricted paper in public before slotting it into the ballot box.
Daniel Animah, Assemblyman for Zua, came out of the polling booth proudly showing to everyone he voted for the nominee, Agnes Anamoo, as he held up the ballot paper in different directions to feed every eye in the seated hall.
The display, so unexpected as it was, tossed the overcrowded new conference hall of the Nabdam District Assembly into a rowdy deep shock. It equally drew the rage of Electoral Commission (EC) officials who, no sooner had the assembly member folded the paper and dropped it in the ballot box, stepped in with a strong demand for apology.
“That is unacceptable. It took us all by surprise. It took all of us by surprise- even the people on the high table where he was closer to. I was not closer to him. So many factors could have influenced him to do that.
“Maybe somebody has offered him something or he wanted to show to the candidate that you asked me to vote for you and I have voted for you- that’s why he showed the ballot paper to them. It constitutes an electoral offence,” the Deputy Upper East Regional Director of the Electoral Commission, Oscar Baah Apemah, told Starr News after the assembly had apologised.
The house, who eventually accepted the apology, was not just alarmed because of the unsolicited disclosure of the strict secrecy of the voting paper. It was the last thing anyone would imagine the assemblyman, one of the finest intellectuals at the assembly and a possible presiding member, would do.
I don’t regret what I did- assemblyman
Monday had begun ominously in the Talensi District where, a few hours before Nabdams assembled to confirm their nominee, Christopher Boabil Somiteyen had failed just by one vote to cross the required two-third mark.
He needed 20 of the 30 votes cast to put himself and Talensi in the coveted lead. He polled 19 votes, missing a date with destiny by a whisker. The outcome churned stomachs in the next-door Nabdam District. And the eventual result was almost the same. Mrs. Anamoo, fondly called Madam Aggie, needed just 13 of the 19 votes on the Electoral Commission’s roll. And she got just that!
Noise of jubilation, led by women and akin to what will always be heard at the arrival of a baby after a prolonged labour, ripped through the entire new assembly block at Nabdam after the counting of the yes-votes reached the crowning 13, submerging the 6 thumbs that said no. The heavy drumming that came with the celebration at the forecourt of the building was so deafening it was difficult to hear as to where the champagne party was going to take place.
“The woman was not competing against anybody. That was the motivation behind my display of the ballot paper. If she was competing with somebody, I would hide the ballot paper. But she did not compete with anybody.
“The development of the district was our priority. We don’t have to hide anything. If we are hiding anything, we are hiding our own development. I don’t have any regrets at all because the maximum the Electoral Commission could have done was to let me apologise. But they can never prevent me from voting again,” Mr. Animah told Starr News.
Wakeup call to Electoral Commission
Mrs. Anamoo, who now owns the record of being the region’s first District Chief Executive in the Akufo-Addo Government, has promised to foster unity in her district and to ensure that “all the policies” outlined by President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo are implemented to the satisfaction of Nabdams.
Meanwhile, the Electoral Commission has resolved upon blocking any attempts elsewhere to flaunt fingerprinted ballot papers as the confirmation sessions continue at the rest of the assemblies in the region.
“I don’t think there is any punishment for that (showing of ballot paper). But we would have to be careful when we are addressing them (assembly members). We should let them know that it constitutes an electoral offence. The secrecy of voting is something that we should uphold. We will caution the house about such acts before the voting would start in subsequent elections,” Mr. Apemah stated.
Published on 9 May 2017 | 7:34 am at Source