Security forces are boosted in northern regions to prevent violence between two political parties At least 300 extra security officers will be stationed in Ghana's northern regions to ward off violence as political tensions in the country simmer ahead of its third democratic election tomorrow. Friction between the country's two contending political parties in the run-up to the election has resulted in the death of a 14-year-old boy and injuries to three others who were wounded in shootings. Political activities and radio phone-in shows have been banned in the north for two weeks as police struggled to restore calm. 'Before the ban, there wasn't one political event organised in [the area] that didn't end in disturbances or violence, even to the extent of loss of life,' said regional deputy minister Charles Bintin, who sits on the north's security council. Regional police chief Ephraim Oko Brakau said officers will be watching flashpoints as the parties battle for the 40 per cent of the electorate who say they are undecided voters. The ruling, right-leaning New Patriotic Party is hoping for a second term in office, while the National Democratic Congress is hoping to sway voters by picking apart their opponent's record on issues such as economic development and health care. Cocoa prices are at a record high, the country's small stock exchange is booming and a controversial decision to seek Highly Indebted Poor Country status has led to US$20 million in spending on projects like toilets, roads, clinics and schools. But little of the economic upswing is being felt by poor voters. According to the latest health survey, infant mortality rates are worsening and the latest report for the UN Millennium Goals project shows that 40 per cent of the population in five of the country's 10 regions live in poverty. At least a third of the population cannot meet its basic nutritional needs. 'From these statistics, a majority of people are not doing better,' said Kojo Yanko, director of the African Institute of Journalism and Communication. The government has made it a priority to link the far corners of Ghana with paved roads and has worked at connecting small communities to the fledgling electricity grid. But Mr Yanko said many people can barely afford clean water and are unable to pay electricity bills. He said there are no funds left to invest in businesses that would make use of the roads and electricity supply. 'We are repeating a whole lot of things,' he said. 'We do loans, they don't last. We've got more loans now than we've ever had in our history.' The UN Millennium Goals project shows that poverty is intensifying in six of the 10 regions, especially in the north, where at least seven of every 10 people live on US$100 a year. Emotions are already running high in the northern regions, where towns have been divided after the beheading of tribal king Ya Na Yakuba two years ago. Although an investigation into the killing was completed, no convictions were made and the body has yet to be buried.