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Politics Tue, 12 Aug 2014

Electoral Commission replaces registration machines

The Electoral Commission (EC) has replaced all the registration machines that were last Thursday destroyed in Kumasi by six macho men armed with deadly weapons.

No arrest has been effected so far.

In a Hollywood-style action, the six stormed the Buorkrom Registration Centre in the Manhyia Sub-metro and destroyed all the registration materials and machines.

They also threatened to kill anyone who dared to intervene.

The incident occurred around 2:30 p.m.

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The action, which lasted about five minutes, saw registration officers, political party agents and prospective registrants running for dear life.

Confirming the incident to the Daily Graphic, the Manhyia District Officer of the EC, Mr Manu Sekyi, said the thugs arrived at the centre on motorbikes and immediately after holding discussions with the agents of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), they brought out their weapons, including knives.

He said the gang of six ordered everybody at the centre to move away and, in the full glare of those present, tore the documents and smashed machines, including cameras, computers and scanners.

“Thankfully, we have been able to retrieve the chip in the registration machine and given it to the officers to be sent to Accra for the information to be retrieved,” Mr Sekyi said.

He said the EC would provide the centre with a new set of machines to continue with the process.

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According to him, he had reported the matter to the police, who had assured him that all the centres would be protected by armed policemen.

Mr Sekyi urged all people who had attained 18 years or could not register during the previous registration exercise not to feel threatened by the incident but take advantage of the ongoing exercise and register.

In another development, a planned manhunt by the Tafo Pankrono Divisional Police to arrest some unidentified persons alleged to be harassing northerners in Kumasi during the limited voters registration exercise was fiercely resisted by New Patriotic Party (NPP) bigwigs at the regional headquarters of the party at Krofrom on Sunday.

Led by the Ashanti Regional NPP Chairman, Mr Bernard Bosiako (Wuntumi), the suspected NPP boys who had got wind of the ‘operation’ by the police, converged at the party headquarters to scuttle the police operation.

The three-man police team, led by ASP Kugblenu, with only one armed uniformed policeman, was literally turned away, as they appeared hapless before the well-prepared party boys.

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The unidentified men allegedly attacked 12 northerners, including two women, last Saturday on the grounds that they were Burkinabe, who had allegedly been transported by the NDC to the area to partake in the registration exercise.

Eight of the victims (all males) led the police to identify their ‘assailants’.

In their written statement, the spokesperson for the group, Ayorka Akumpi, 25, said seven of his friends had visited him from the north, and he was seeing them off at the Bolga Lorry Station near the NPP headquarters last Saturday when they were accosted by the ‘macho men’, who allegedly dragged them to the party office, beat them up and seized their mobile phones.

They were later allegedly taken to the Zongo Police Station, Manhyia, but they were released after the intervention of the NDC Ashanti Regional Secretary, Raymond Tandoh.

The boys took the matter to the Tafo Pankrono Police Station where they were given medical forms, and their statements taken.

While they were there, four others, including two ladies, allegedly rushed to the station with a similar story, which compelled the police to launch the arrest mission, which was, unfortunately, botched.

Chairman Wuntumi told the Daily Graphic that the party was aware of northerners and foreigners who were being transported to the region for the registration exercise to increase the NDC’s votes in the region.

“We will resist any move by our opponents (NDC) to undermine the credibility of the register. Our boys got wind that those attacked were not from the region, and the boys were only ensuring that the right thing was done,” he told the Daily Graphic yesterday at the NPP regional headquarters before angry supporters.

Source: Graphic.com.gh