The Minister of Defence, Dominic Nitiwul has challenged the flagbearer of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), John Mahama to prove claims that non-Akans and Ewes are being intimidated in the ongoing voter registration exercise.
The National Democratic Congress Flagbearer, John Mahama, condemned what he calls the “discriminatory” use of military personnel by President Akufo-Addo to disenfranchise some Ghanaians in Banda in the Bono Region.
In a Facebook post, Mr. Mahama described the actions of the government as dangerous.
“The road President Akufo-Addo is taking our beautiful country through, using the military and party thugs to stop people from exercising their right to register and vote in the upcoming December elections, is dangerous and unacceptable.”
“There have been many reports and video evidence, like the one in this post, of the President’s deployment and discriminatory use of soldiers to target our brothers and sisters in the Volta Region and wherever there are settlements of Voltarians and non-Akans,” he added.
But the Defense Minister reacting to the claim in Parliament House on Monday, August 3, 2020, said the former president was wrong and misled Ghanaians with his claim.
“The parties ought to respect the agreement that they themselves have signed. So if the NPP tries to bus in people, they will be stopped. Same with NDC and another political party. So all I urge is for the political parties to respect what they have signed and allow the people to go individually and register…but when you try to bus in people, it is the duty of the security service people to stop you because that was the agreement from REGSEC.”
“The former president is wrong and misled to think that the military is being used to suppress people. The Volta Region he cited, can anybody tell me that the figures in the Volta Region are lower than the national average? Obviously not. So where is the voter suppression? Are the figures in the Northern Region lower than the national average? Obviously not. Are the figures in the Greater Accra Region also lower than the national average? It is also a no. So where is the voter suppression here again? We also have over 30,000 registration centres, how many centres have we seen military personnel visit for anybody to conclude there is voter suppression? Of course, they have visited registration centres where there is trouble and they will continue to places where there is trouble but for anybody to conclude especially a former president and Commander in Chief of the Ghana Armed Forces to conclude there is voter suppression, he is misleading the people.”
Our deployment not targeted at any ethnic group
The Ghana Armed Forces (GAF) has also rejected claims of ethnic targeting in its military deployment to some registration centres.
GAF in a statement explained that the deployment forms part of an agreement reached by officials of both the governing New Patriotic Party and the NDC as well as the Regional Security Council (REGSEC) on the back of disturbances that resulted in the death of one person in the Banda district.
“The Military wishes to state that on 30th July 2020, the Bono Regional Security Council met representatives of the two main political parties – NPP and NDC – to deliberate on the peaceful conduct of the registration exercise. This was in the wake of the disturbances that resulted in the unfortunate demise of one person.”
“The Agreement signed by Mr. Joe Danquah (NPP) and Hon Ahmed Ibrahim (NDC MP – Banda) and witnessed by the Hon Regional Minister stated as follows: ‘We the undersigned agreed today to maintain peace in the Banda District during the remaining days of the voters’ registration exercise and after, until the end of the 2020 General Elections in December 2020,” the statement added.