Member of Parliament for North Tongu constituency and minority Spokesperson on Foreign Affairs, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa has asked the government to immediately withdraw the heavy military presence in the Volta region.
He says it is rather unfortunate for the government to intimidate citizens with such heavy military presence all in the name of preventing foreigners from taking part in the voter registration exercise.
Speaking on Okay FM’s ‘Ade Akye Abia‘ programme, he noted that residents have become traumatized and are unable to go about their normal duties.
He said there are Ghanaians who move in and out of the country to conduct their daily business activities in Togo so how then are they described as foreigners.
“This is sickening and it does speak well of us as a Democratic country. Parliament has not even been informed about this operation. So how then do you go about to deploy the military to engage in activities that are meant for the Immigration Service?”
K T Hammond’s statement
Member of Parliament for Ketu South, Hon. K.T Hammond, while explaining the reason why some military personnel have been deployed to the Volta Region ahead of the voter registration exercise, made an analogy of how some foreign nationals from neighbouring Togo had participated in the election re-run of the 2008 general elections as Ghanaians in Ketu South Constituency.
He justified the military presence, saying it was to check the seeming influx of foreigners onto Ghana’s electoral roll.
“The military is there to make sure you vote if you are a Ghanaian and if you have the constitutional right to vote. That’s all there is. They are not electoral officers, but they are peacekeeping forces. They are keeping the peace. They [Togolese] walk into the [Volta Region] and come out normally but they are not Ghanaians. When they walk in there they can do whatever they do so I guess that is the reason for that,” he said.
NDC gives government 1 day ultimatum
The Minority NDC in Parliament has meanwhile given a day’s ultimatum to government to withdraw military personnel from Ketu South in the Volta Region.
Emmanuel Bedzrah, Chairman of the Volta Regional Caucus addressing a press conference in Aflao Monday, stressed that the troops must be recalled to their barracks immediately.
“There is no war between Ghana and Togo,” Mr Bedzrah said, adding there is no need for an increased security presence in the area.
Rawlings says military deployment is generating animosity
In a related development, former President Jerry John Rawlings thinks that the presence of the military and other security agencies in some parts of the Volta and Oti Regions is generating animosity especially amongst border dwellers whose livelihood solely depend on activities along the border.
According to him, the Covid-19 restrictions have already created enough difficulties for “most of our citizens” and that such difficulties should not be compounded.
A statement issued by Kobina Andoh Amoakwa of the Communications Directorate of the former President’s office said: “Let us not make it worse with overbearing and intimidating behaviour towards our border dwellers whose livelihood solely depend on activities along the border.”
Mr Rawlings said, “Ahead of the voter registration exercise and the December elections, it is important that we demonstrate a sense of fairness and justice to all individuals and groups of people whilst maintaining the integrity and the sanctity of the process.”
Former President Rawlings’ statement followed complaints by many residents of border towns in the Volta and Oti Regions over the deployment of some security personnel, particularly military personnel in the area.