A driver and 14 occupants of his vehicle who were earlier arrested in Kpetoe in the Agotime Ziope District of the Volta Region for allegedly entering Ghana illegally from Togo to acquire voter’s identification card have been granted bail.
The 14 suspects between the ages of 65 and 75 were intercepted by the Volta Regional Chairman of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), Makafui Woanya, and his team on Sunday afternoon, during a monitoring exercise of the ongoing voters’ registration.
Gati Xorlali, driver of the Hyundai van with registration number GR 3234-M indicated he was conveying the suspects to a funeral, failing to mention where the funeral was being held.
The suspects upon further interrogation said they were from Hornugo en route to the district office of the Electoral Commission to apply for the Voter’s ID Card.
However, a decision to keep the 15 suspects in police custody to assist with investigations infuriated residents of Kpetoe.
They besieged the Agotime Ziope District Police Headquarters Sunday evening, clad in red, and demanded the release of the suspects. The irate residents claimed the arrested persons are their relatives and not foreigners as tagged by the NPP Regional and Constituency Executives.
Lawyers of the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) secured bail for the suspects who were asked to report back at the police station on Monday 6th July 2020, for further questioning and as well assist with investigations.
Addressing the media, the Volta Regional NDC Secretary, James Gunu, explained the 14 persons who are aged and disabled were only heading to the District office Electoral Commission to have their names on the electoral rolls, per the directive.
”Most of these people have Ghana Cards, some have passports, even one of them by name Christian Agbeviade who had worked with the military for several years and now on retirement and visually impaired was also arrested that he is not Ghanaian,” he narrated.
He, however, directed the NPP to act as stipulated by the law by challenging persons they may deem foreigners after they have gone through the registration process and not prevent applicants physically from registering.
”When we came we realized that the rule of law has been thrown to the dogs, now what we have is the rule of politics. We will never allow this kind of attitude,” he stressed.
He urged qualified applicants not to be intimidated by the development, but go out in their numbers to register and acquire the voter’s ID Card.
The Volta Regional NDC Vice Chairman, George Loh, described the incident as unfortunate and implored his counterparts in the NPP to ”do the right thing” by acting in accordance with the laws of the country.
He, however, said that the NDC will facilitate the registration process of the 14 persons to ensure they are not disenfranchised, after visiting the police station on Monday.
“I am saying and I continue to say without fear or favor, that so far as there are Ghanaians who have the right to vote, wherever they are, we will ensure, use all legal means that they will come and vote. NPP is bringing people from China, all over the world, to come and register. So why will our neighbors in Togo and other places be refused?” he quizzed.
He urged the government to facilitate the movement of Ghanaians resident outside the country to acquire the voter’s ID card to enable them to take part in the December 7th general elections.
“The NPP is afraid, it is clear, every action they have taken shows that defeat is staring them in the face and therefore they are restless and they are misbehaving.”
The Member of Parliament for Ho West, Emmanuel Bedzra, entreated the NPP to desist from engaging in unlawful acts that may destabilise the peace in the Volta Region.
He, however, added that the opposition NDC is ever ready to squarely meet the NPP should the latter attempt to bring “war’ to their stronghold.
“This is just the beginning of a war between the NPP and the NDC in the Volta Region. This is our region, NPP has no hold in this region. I want to sound this warning once again if NPP wants to bring war between NDC and NPP in the Volta Region, we are ready for them!”
“We are peace loving people and they should not dare and I am repeating it, they should not dare us, otherwise this region will be two small for all of us to stay.”, he emphasised.