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Krowor MCE election ends in chaos

BY: Edward Acquah
One of the observers being escorted out of the resticted area by the police. Picture: Benedict Obuobi
One of the observers being escorted out of the resticted area by the police. Picture: Benedict Obuobi

A meeting to elect the President's nominee for the position of Municipal Chief Executive (MCE) for the Krowor Municipality in the Greater Accra Region has been cancelled due to "some security concerns".

The meeting, which was held in Accra last Friday,  to endorse Mr Joshua Bortey was called off after the event grounds was marred with wild confrontations between some of the assembly members who were supposed to have voted and some residents in the municipality who had come to observe the process.

The residents who stormed the Royal Ravico Hotel in Nungua (where the meeting was held) in the morning threatened to manhandle the assembly members who had rejected Mr Bortey for the second time this year, if they failed to endorse him this time round.

The situation, however, did not go down well with some of the assembly members and  other residents, leading to exchange of life-threatening remarks and fierce altercation among them.

A source told the Daily Graphic that the Greater Accra Regional Minister, Mr Ishmael Ashitey, who was present at the meeting, described the atmosphere as not fit for the election, hence his decision to terminate the process to forestall any violence on the grounds.

Heavy police presence

When the Daily Graphic arrived at the election grounds in the morning, it observed not less than 40 armed police men positioned at vantage points, including the walls of the hotel, to maintain law and order and to forestall any violent reaction from the teeming crowd who had gathered on the compound.

About 10 police officers manned the Odehe Conference Hall, where the election was supposed to have been held, and disallowed all "unauthorised persons", including journalists from entering the hall.

When the nominee, Mr Bortey, arrived at the venue under heavy security, a section of the crowd did not hesitate to hurl curses and insults at him, a situation which plunged the exercise into chaos during which about three separate fights were observed among the observers.

Amid the disturbances, Mr Ashitey and his entourage, together with the Presiding Member of the Assembly, vacated the premises after which the entire process was cancelled.

All efforts to get officials at the assembly to offer some explanation on the matter proved futile.

Background

The President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, recently re-nominated for the third time Mr Bortey for the position of MCE following his rejection by the assembly members in an election that was conducted in September this year.

A statement issued by the Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, Hajia Alima Mahama, asked the Regional Minister to liaise with the Regional Electoral Commission to conduct the election to confirm the appointment of the nominee.

It was gathered that in the previous elections, all of which were conducted this year, Mr Bortey failed to secure two-thirds of the required votes of the assembly members.

According to sources, the last election saw only five out of the 15 assembly members who partook in the election endorse his nomination.