There seems to be a stark disagreement among leading members of the governing NPP on the rationale behind the deployment of more military personnel to the Volta and Oti regions on the blind side of Parliament which the minority says smacks of suspicion.
Residents in the Ketu South Municipality of the Volta region had expressed concern over the rise in the number of security personnel amid allegations of abuse, a situation which some said was causing fear among them.
Minority spokesperson on Defence and Interior James Agalga, addressing the press in Parliament, accused the government of spearheading the said deployment to intimidate residents in the region and prevent them from participating in the upcoming new voters’ registration exercise which it vehemently resisted.
“There is a certain scheme which is designed by the government to intimidate our teeming supporters from coming out in their numbers to register and have their names on the new voter register,” James Agalga, said June 26.
Responding to the claims by the Minority, Member of Parliament for Adansi-Asokwa, K.T. Hammond said security officials are in the Volta region to control Ghana’s border to prevent foreigners from participating in the upcoming national exercise.
“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.”
He adds that the government will not allow unqualified persons to infiltrate the new electoral roll.
“They [Togolese] walk in [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.
The MP cited the second round of the 2008 general elections where he says foreigners were allowed to participate in the exercise in Ketu South Constituency. He believes the presence of the military will curtail its recurrence during Tuesday’s exercise.
But Volta Regional Minister, Dr Archibald Letsa has a different explanation for the increased security deployment. Speaking on JoyNews Prime on Friday night, he explained that “as far as we are concerned we are only enforcing the closure of the borders which remain closed till otherwise directed.”
He disclosed that the regional security council had requested more forces to assist in that regard, a situation which he says was not a novelty.
Dr Letsa, however, dismissed claims that the reinforcement had anything to do with Tuesday’s new voter registration exercise, contrary to K.T Hammond and James Agalga’s assertions.
“Maybe because it’s close to the registration of voters people are reading other meanings and motives into it…
“As far as I am aware, this is not meant to intimidate anybody. This is not supposed to interfere with voter registration,”
The Electoral Commission (EC) has set Tuesday, June 30, to compile a new voters’ register for the presidential and parliamentary elections.