The Ghana Armed Forces (GAF) has said it deployed military personnel to Banda to enforce a “REGSEC-brokered Agreement.”
Mr Johnson Asiedu Nketia, General Secretary of the biggest opposition party, the National Democratic Congress (NDC), has been captured in a video engaging some armed soldiers at Banda in the Bono Region in an argument over allegations that personnel of the Ghana Armed Forces were preventing eligible voters in the area from registering in the ongoing voter registration exercise.
A furious Asiedu Nketia is seen in the video arguing with the soldiers over the matter.
This comes a day after the flag bearer of the NDC, former President John Mahama, posted a similar video on his Facebook wall along with allegations that President Nana Akufo-Addo is using the army to prevent Ewes and non-Akans from taking part in the registration exercise.
In a statement on Saturday, 1 August 2020, Mr Mahama said: “This is not the Ghana our forebears toiled for and built!”
“Each and every successive President”, he noted, “left a peaceful, stable and united country”.
However, he observed, “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”.
He alleged: ‘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”.
The flag bearer of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) said: “Executive power must not be used to foment ethnic discrimination and abuse as is happening under Nana Akufo-Addo”.
“These calculated acts of ‘dehumanisation, disenfranchising Ghanaians and stripping them of their citizenship’ must end”, he insisted.
Explaining the presence of the military in a statement, however, GAF said: “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 Ahmed Ibrahim (NDC MP – Banda) and witnessed by the Regional Minister, stated as follows: “We, the undersigned agreed today to maintain peace in the Banda District during the remaining days of the voter registration exercise and after, until the end of the 2020 General Elections in December 2020.”
It stated the details of the agreement as follows: “That the REGSEC will give the necessary security to the Banda Constituency and the entire region, before, during and after the process of the 7th December Election”.
Also, it said the REGSEC and the Electoral Commission and other stakeholders should meet the chiefs to determine the boundaries of Banda and the two parliamentary candidates (Mr. Joe Danquah and Ahmed Ibrahim, MP) should stop bussing people to the registration centres, if, indeed, they were ordinary residents; they should go there on their own volition.
It also agreed that: “Political parties should educate their agents at the registration centres to fill challenge forms in challenging people whose citizenship or residency they doubted. That no physical violence should be used in preventing people from registering” and “that the two candidates should pledge their support to ensure peace in the constituency by signing the peace agreement offered by REGSEC.”
GAF continued that the “security agencies were, therefore, available to support the REGSEC-brokered agreement.”
It further continued that: “No specific ethnic group was targeted in this regard” and, thus, called on the public to be duly “informed of these developments.”