incumbent Member of Parliament for Chiana-Paga, Abuga Pele, has lost his sixth bid to return to Parliament in 2017.
Rudolf Amenga-Etego, a legal practitioner, obtained 4, 337 votes to beat the MP, who polled 4,177 votes. Jonathan Nyaaba, another aspirant, finished third with 825 votes.
Some 13,062 delegates were expected to turn out at 53 voting centres in an election rocked during the morning hours by pockets of controversy that saw military deployed to the area to restore calm. Out of the 9,749 votes cast, 410 ballots were rejected, leaving 9,339 as valid.
Abuga Pele, now the fourth sitting legislator to have lost at the primaries of the NDC in the Upper East region, joins three other lawmakers ousted by delegates in November last year, Dominic Azimbe Azumah in the Garu Constituency, Emmanuel Akolbire Opam-Brown in the Bolgatanga Central Constituency and Noah Ben Azure in the Binduri Constituency.
Chaos at collation centre
At about 9:30 pm Saturday, chaos erupted at the collation centre over the entry of a ballot box into the centre.
The development came about at the time Lawyer Rudolf Amenga-Etego was clearly in the lead. Some angry-looking party supporters on the premises, believed to be from the camp of the legal luminary, kicked strongly against the box being taken into the strong room on suspicion that the box had been stuffed with invalid ballot papers that could change the foreseeable outcome of the election.
Security agencies on the ground, who had it very tough for close to 30 minutes with a hard-to-crush army of agitators, managed to force the box in. But it remains unclear if the contents of the box were added to the ballots already in.
Security officers starved all day
Scores of security officers, including personnel from the Ghana Police Service, the Ghana Immigration Service and the Ghana National Fire Service, who were detailed to ensure law and order during the primary were reportedly starved throughout the voting day.
A number of them, who pleaded anonymity because they still loved their jobs, told Starr News monies meant for their feeding had been denied them by their “bosses”.
“We have not taken food since we came out at 3:00am today. They brought some food this evening at the time the food was already spoilt for us to eat. Are we animals? Even after here, we still have to return to our duty posts again, on empty stomachs. Please, talk for us. You know we can’t speak for ourselves,” one of the officers, looking as very angry as he looked drained in the uniform, groaned as he pleaded with Starr News at the collation centre near the Paga Border.
But responding to the allegations, the police commander in charge of the Kassena-Nankana West District (where the constituency is found), DSP Isaac Kojo Forson, said no money was given to the police command or any security chief and that food was provided by executives of the NDC for the security officers engaged at the primary but some only rejected the food saying it tasted bad.
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Jubilations after Rudolf’s win
Wild jubilations erupted in the constituency after the Electoral Commission declared the results. The ecstasy was loudest at Kadinga, hometown of the victorious legal practitioner in the eastern zone of the constituency, with overjoyed motorbike riders displaying adventurously everywhere.
Lawyer Rudolf Amenga-Etego, who is also an environmentalist, has indicated to Starr News through his spokesperson, Gilbert Atanga, that he would use his MP Common Fund to strengthen needy constituents through education, health, water and sanitation programmes among other interventions if voted as MP for the area in this year’s general elections.
Mr. Atanga said the winning side would work closely with the MP’s campaign team to ensure victory for the NDC in the upcoming general polls.
Abuga Pele has been in Parliament for 16 years, having won the general elections in 1996, 2000, 2004 and 2012. He lost in 2008 to Leo Alowe Kabah of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) after Lawyer Rudolf Amenga-Etego, who contested Mr. Pele at the primary in 2007 but was dissatisfied with the results, stood as an independent candidate.
Lawyer Rudolf Amenga-Etego will now face a main contender in Clement Dandori, a retired civil servant, of the NPP at the 2016 general polls.