Govt dismisses NDC’s claim of voter registration suppression

Government has dismissed concerns of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) that it is suppressing voter registration in the opposition party’s strongholds.

The denial of the government comes on the back of videos that have gone viral on various social media platforms over the weekend.

In the said video, armed military personnel mounted a road block to prevent people loaded in a kia truck, ostensibly headed for a registration centre in the Banda Constituency in the Bono Region to undergo registration in the ongoing exercise.

Unenthused by the development, former President John Mahama and the NDC’s presidential aspirant for the December 7 polls, accused President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo of being behind the deployment, which he said targeted non-Akans.

Former President Mahama in a Facebook post complained  that “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…….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”.

But, Defence Minister, Dominic Nitiwul, addressing journalists in Parliament, in Accra, yesterday, said former President Mahama got his intelligence wrong.

“Let me assure the people of Ghana that the Ministry of Defence or government will not deploy members of the Ghana Armed Forces to suppress any voter,” the Defence Minister averred.

He explained that what was happening in that part of the country was on the orders of the Regional Security Council following clashes that claimed one life in the area earlier on during the exercise.

“The security council held a meeting with the [political] parties, agreed with them that nobody should bus people to a registration centre, agreed with them that people should not physically prevent others from registering and also agreed that the security, including the military be deployed to forestall any recurrence.

“All I urge the political parties is to respect what they have signed and allow people to go individually and register and those people can only be challenged if they do not qualify but when you try to bus people, it is the duty of the security services, whether it is the police or military, to stop you because that is the agreement,” Mr Nitiwul said.

He wondered how the General Secretary of the NDC, Johnson Asiedu Nketia, who was seen in the video engaging the armed military men, managed to appear on the scene; accusing him of being behind the busing of the potential voters.  

According to Mr Nitiwul, Member of Parliament for Bimbilla, the exercise, which started on June 31, has largely been peaceful, but for some few polling stations, which recorded some violent confrontations.   

The former president, the Defence Minister said, was wrong and has been misled to think that the military was being used to suppress voters.

Mr Ntiwul said “the Volta Region he cites, can anyone tell me that the figures are lower than the national average? I am challenging the former president to provide us with evidence [of voter suppression] and we will act, but as I sit here today, it remains a mere allegation.”

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