The President, Nana Akufo-Addo has justified military deployments along the country’s borders amidst the compilation of the new voters’ register and the rising cases of COVID-19 infections.
In an address to the nation on Monday, June 29, 2020, the President said the move is in the best interest of the country.
He said the deployment is to save the country against the intrusion of foreign nationals who have the potential of jeopardizing Ghana’s democracy and health efforts in these crucial moments.
“The longstanding deployment of security personnel, especially the military, along our borders is another dimension of this process of guaranteeing the peace of the nation. To shore up our borders against such attacks, and to defend our nation’s territorial integrity, the Armed Forces, at least since I came into office, have been very proactive in engaging in operations to secure our borders and foil any potential terror attacks on our soil. Deployments of soldiers in areas along our borders have been regular, and residents living in border towns will bear testimony to this”, he said.
The military personnel have been sighted in the Volta Region, Oti Region, Northern Region, Upper East Region and Upper West Region, which are known to be friendly to the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC).
As a result, the party and its flagbearer, John Mahama, have complained the deployment of military personnel was meant to intimidate residents from coming out to register to vote.
But Nana Addo who made reference to how the use of the milliary has led to the arrest of some illegal immigrants into the country in the past, he stated that such intimidation concerns are misplaced.
“Let me state, without any form of equivocation, that these deployments are not in any way intended to intimidate or prevent eligible Ghanaians from registering to vote in December. They are there for their express purpose, which is to guard our borders. That is the limit of their remit, and they will not be permitted to stray beyond that remit,” he said.
I am not interested in disenfranchising voters
Commenting on suggestions that, the move is also to deliberately disenfranchise eligible voters so the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP) wins the 2020 polls, Nana Addo who is also the NPP presidential candidate maintained that nothing will compel him to rig an election as being claimed by his opponents.
“I have no interest in disenfranchising any eligible Ghanaian from registering in tomorrow’s exercise, nor am I interested in any improper machinations to win any election. I have spent my life fighting for free, democratic institutions in our country, and I will continue in that fight for the rest of my life. The idea of being a President, who emerges from a rigged election, is abhorrent to every fibre of my being. I want to continue to be the President of a Ghanaian people who have given me their free consent, with the blessing of the Almighty.”
In total, 207 soldiers have been deployed along the borders of the Upper East Region; 110 in the Northern Region; 102 in the North East Region; 98 in the Volta Region; 72 in the Oti Region; 69 in Upper West; 64 in Bono Region; 21 in Savannah Region; and 14 in the Western Region.
According to the state, Ghana has 52 legal crossing points, over 250 illegal entry points and over 500 places without immigration officers.
Ultimatum from Volta Caucus
Meanwhile, he Volta Caucus on the Minority side in Parliament has given the government a 24-hour ultimatum to withdraw the security personnel from Ghana’s borders in the Volta Region.
The Chairman of the Volta Caucus, Emmanuel Bedzrah, stressed that “The fire has been laid, and we the Voltarians are ready. We are not cowards and I want to repeat that, we are not cowards.”
“We don’t fear people, we only respect people and therefore, whoever deployed the military personnel to our borders should call them back immediately. We are giving them up to the end of tomorrow, Tuesday, the military personnel must be called back,” Mr. Bedzrah said.