Overview of the 2012 elections in Eastern Region

The 2012 Presidential and Parliamentary elections ended in all the 33 constituencies in the Eastern Region, without the postponement of voting witnessed in some parts of the country. Collation of results from the polling stations started on the same day and some constituencies were able to declare their results. The Region had 1,429,682 registered voters, 2,971 polling stations while 152 candidates contested for the 33 parliamentary seats. Seventeen of the candidates were independent while 12 were women. At the end of the elections, the New Patriotic Party (NPP) won 26 Parliamentary Seats while the National Democratic Congress (NDC) carried seven. Both local and international observers were in the Region to witness the elections. Some of the local election observers identified were representatives of Commission for Human Rights and Administrative Justice, Coalition of Domestic Election Observers and the Institute for Democratic Governance (IDEG). The NDC and NPP had agents at almost all the polling stations visited by the Ghana News Agency (GNA). During the elections, the only issue that interfered with the smooth operations of the elections was the mal-functioning of the Biometric Verification Device (BVD) mainly at the Cocoa Shed Polling Station at Kukurantumi in Abuakwa North Constituency and the St Dominic JHS Polling Station in the New Juaben South Constituency. Due to the defective BVDís in the two polling stations, voting was delayed till late in the night. The device rejected mainly elderly persons who were eager to exercise their franchise but through innovative means such as the use of various liquids including water, kerosene, petrol and coca cola to wash their hands they were able to go through the process. At the end of the elections, there was only one reported case of objection to the results at the Suhum Constituency. Mr Julius Debrah, the parliamentary candidate who lost the seat called for re-collation of the results and this was done. However, Mr Debrah and his team refused to sign the results sheet. There was an Election Security Patrol Team, made up of armed police personnel and soldiers who were stationed at vantage places in vehicles while some were patrolling. According to a report released by the Media Committee of the Region Election Security Task Force, four persons were arrested for double registration when they attempted to vote. One was arrested in New Juaben South Constituency, the other in New Juaben North Constituency, the other in Nsawam/Adoagyiri Constituency and the other at Akim Swedru Constituency. Four persons wearing green trousers and Polo shirts were arrested at the Abuakwa North Constituency for observing the elections without accreditation from Electoral Commission (EC) but were later granted self recognition bail by the police after investigations. Before the elections, the EC held series of training programmes for the various political parties and their agents. The EC also organised training programmes for the election officials that they engaged on the voting day. The Commission met with the representatives of the political parties, the parliamentary candidates, youth groups , civil society organisations and the media to brief them on their activities and plans for the election to promote openness in the process. The Regional Election Security Task Force also met with the media to brief them about their plans to ensure peaceful elections. The EC and some non-governmental organisations (NGOs) also held series of training programmes for members of the security service in the Region on provision of security during elections and crowd control. The National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE) organised series of public education on the election throughout the region. The NCCE, IDEG and some NGOs also mounted common platforms in various constituencies for the parliamentary candidates to present their manifestoes to the people and also answer questions from the electorate. The candidates used the common platform to present their views to the electorate. On the polling day staff of GNA faced a number of challenges such as lack of funds to support their travelling around the Region to provide the wider coverage as expected. While other media houses charted vehicles to cover the elections, staff of the Agency had to make their rounds in public transport at their own expense because there was no fuel for the official vehicle and no funds to support their rounds.