8 February 2013

Ghana: Council of State Elections in Ashanti Voters Were Bribed

Kumasi — THE ELECTION of an Ashanti Regional representative to the Council of State was marred yesterday, with series of controversies, after one of the defeated candidates alleged the use of dirty tactics, including payment of bribes and camping of delegates prior to the election.

Richard Kwasi Ofori Agyemang Boadi, aka King Zuba, who was one of eight candidates who contested for the position, has alleged massive fraud on the part of some regional executives of the National Democratic Congress, in connivance with the incumbent and eventual winner, Nana Asiama Poku Afrifa III, the Toasehene.

Shortly after the declaration of the result of the elections, which was held at the Conference Hall of the Regional Coordinating Council, an angry Ofori Agyemang Boadi, who also doubles as the Regional Coordinator of Leadership and Entrepreneurial Skills Development Programme (LESDEP), walked out of the hall and granted interview to the media, alleging unfairness and lack of transparency in the run up to the polls.

Zuba alleged that about 31 out of 60 delegates were camped at Senator Hotel, near Tanoso, a day before the elections, during which they were given GH¢1,000.00 to vote for the winner, an allegation which he said, was confirmed earlier yesterday morning by the Deputy Regional Chairman of the party, Mr. Akwasi Abayie.

The embittered and defeated candidate stated emphatically that he (Abayie) confirmed to him on a radio programme earlier in the morning that he had been given GH¢1,000 by Nana Afrifa.

But Mr. Abayie has denied the claims by Zuba, when contacted shortly for his reactions to the allegations.

Nana Poku Afrifa III also declined to comment on the matter, as he immediately boarded his Land Cruiser Pajero and sped off after the programme.

Zuba, who is also a member of the Ashanti NDC Regional Communication Team, however, said he feels betrayed by the party hierarchy , considering the kind of contribution he made towards ensuring that the ruling National Democratic Congress(NDC) improved its electoral fortunes in the region.

He said he had been stabbed in the back by some regional executives of the party because he expected them to support his candidature and not to work against him.

The dissatisfied candidate has accordingly decided to boycott all forms of party activities, including the latest directives for him to draft a proposal towards the formation of a pressure group, Let My Vote Stand (LMVS), to counter the New Patriotic Party's Let My Vote Count Movement.

"I will be a fool to do that assignment; they should call Toasehene to come and do it, period, we are no longer going to sweat by our blood for this party anymore," a virtually angry Zuba busted in an interview with The Chronicle.

The Regional Secretary of the ruling party, Mr. Joseph Yamin, also lamented in an interview that the choice was not in the interest of the party.

Meanwhile, in the elections, the incumbent, Nana Asiama Poku Afrifah, the Chief of Toasehene, polled 39 votes out of 60 ballots cast to retain the seat, which he has held for four years now.

In all, ten candidates filed their nominations to contest for the position, but two of them, Bernard Bekoe, a 69-year-old Media Practitioner/ Teacher and Joseph Alexander Tuffuor Sarkodie, an 84 year old Building Contractor, pulled out at the eleventh hour.

Rev. Dr. Seth Frimpong Coleman, a 48-year-old Educationist and Minister of the Gospel, polled 12 votes while Nana Ameyaw Akoto II, a 65-year-old Public Servant/ traditional ruler, secured eight votes with one Ali Arime-Yawo, a 56-year-old technician, polling just one vote.

Prof. Seth Opuni Asiama, a Doctor of Philosophy, Nana Kusi Ampofo II, a 52-year-old, traditional ruler, Eric Oteng Manu, a 40-year-old technician and Richard Ofori Agyemang Boadi, all failed to secure single votes, during the election which was supervised by the Regional Director of the Electoral Commission, Mr. Samuel Tetteh.

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