The Volta Caucus of Ghana’s Minority in Parliament, has given the government of Ghana a 24-hour ultimatum to immediately withdraw the army personnel deployed to the region’s borders.
The Chairman of the Caucus, Mr Emmanuel Bedzrah, told journalists at the National Democratic Congress’ bi-weekly press briefing that: “The fire has been lit and we the Voltarians are ready”.
“We are not cowards and I want to repeat that we are not cowards”, he said.
The Ho West MP said: “We don’t fear people, we only respect people and, therefore, whoever had deployed the military personnel to our borders should call them back immediately”, adding: “We are giving them up to the end of tomorrow, Tuesday; the military personnel must be called back”.
Meanwhile, the Presiding Bishop of Perez Chapel International, Bishop Charles Agyinasare, has said Ghana must not burn because of politics.
Relying on Jeremiah 29:7, which says: ‘And seek the peace of the city whither I have caused you to be carried away captives, and pray unto the Lord for it: for in the peace thereof shall ye have peace’, to underscore the need for electoral peace in Ghana, the founder of Perez Chapel International, who is popularly referred to as the Nations’ Pastor, said: “We need to pray for the registration exercise and the election that it would not create any confusion in this country”.
In his virtual sermon on Sunday, 28 June 2020, Bishop Agyinasare said: “The opposition NDC claims the ruling NPP has sent soldiers, security personnel and vigilantes to their stronghold, especially Ketu South, to intimidate their people from registering, and the government is also saying foreigners from Togo come to register so they want to prevent that”.
He continued: “Some members of the NDC see it as a declaration of war on their turf and the government sees it as: ‘No way are they going to back down’”.
The man of God warned: “This is the only country we have. We don’t want to run from our own country. We don’t want this country to burn because of politics”.
Apart from Bishop Agyinasare, other prominent members of society have also spoken on the sudden influx of army personnel in the Volta Region.
Among them is former President Jerry John Rawlings, who said the deployment of soldiers along Ghana's borders in the Volta and Oti regions, is generating animosity among the citizens whose basic way of life, according to ex-military leader, is being disrupted.
Mr Rawlings, in a statement, noted that: “The presence of the military and other security agencies in some parts of the Volta and Oti Regions is generating animosity, especially amongst innocent citizens whose basic way of life is being disrupted”.
“The deployment along the borders at peacetime, especially at this particular point in time, has created so much suspicion and will call for a lot of intelligent flexibility and diligence”.
“The COVID-19 restrictions have created enough difficulties for most of our citizens. Let us not make it worse with overbearing and intimidating behaviour towards our border dwellers whose livelihood solely depend on activities along the border”.
“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.”
Also, the flag bearer of the NDC, Mr John Mahama, has said sending troops to certain parts of the country when the residents are enjoying peace, amounts to declaring war on them.
In a statement signed by his personal aide Joyce Bawah Mogtari, Mr Mahama said “I have sufficient reason to believe that there is merit in the concerns raised by the residents of these Regions. This represents another unprecedented low in the shameless abuse of state power to attack the very citizens whose safety and security the Akufo-Addo government should be protecting. It is becoming evident by the day, that the Akufo-Addo government perceives political power as an end in itself hence the resort to such crude and high-handed measures to usurp the mandate of the people.
“To send troops into regions in times of peace for the sole purpose of preventing them from registration amounts to declaring war on them. Any President sanctioning this sort of activity stands in breach of his oath to the people of Ghana. Any President doing this commits a grave sin against the very people he swore to protect”.
The statement added: “The singling out of the Volta, Oti and other regions for this kind of attack must be condemned by all. We cannot remain silent while a part of our country is marginalized on account of political calculation. The people of those regions reserve the right to support any political party of their choice and should not be punished unjustly for doing so. Mr President put an immediate end to this needless siege and live up to your oath of office which binds you to treat all Ghanaians equally and ensure their safety and security”.
But Adansi Asokwa MP, Mr K. T. Hammond, has explained that the sudden influx of soldiers in Ketu South is purposely to prevent neighbouring Togolese from crossing over into Ghana to take part in the Electoral Commission’s upcoming voter registration exercise.
Speaking to the media on the issue, Mr Hammond explained that: “The Togolese and the Voltarians – when I talk about Voltarians, the Volta Region – remember the history ... basically the same tribe, so, they walk into [Ghana] but they are not Ghanaians”.
“When they walk in there, they can do whatever they [want], so, I guess that is the reason for that [military influx]”.
“There is a classic example”, he recalled. “You remember 2008, the second round; we had so much – 100,000 or so votes leading Prof Mills at the time of the second round. In the next round, one constituency, Ketu South, cleared all the [votes] we had. Where did they come from?” he asked.
“You see, so, everybody from wherever, they came to vote, so, this is what the whole thing is about; 35,000 people at the time voted; the next one, everybody on earth voted there; where were they coming from?
“So, this is the whole issue: we want there to be sanity”, he added, noting: “The military is there to make sure that you vote if you are a Ghanaian, you vote if you have the constitutional right to vote; that’s all there is to it”, he said.
“They [military personnel] are not electoral officers, but they are a peacekeeping force ... So, the soldiers, the police and immigration are just maintaining the peace, making sure there’s no infiltration. I mean, come on, let’s be serious; what’s the point in going through all that we’ve gone through, to the Supreme Court and all that then allow a porous border for people to come through and then infiltrate the register again? We would have been back to where we started”.
Commenting on the matter, too, law professor Kwaku Asare, popularly known as Kwaku Azar, wrote on social media that Mr Hammond’s comments are “frightening” and “deeply disturbing”, adding that neither the lawmaker nor the military can decide who a Ghanaian citizen is.
Read Prof Kwaku Asare’s comments below:
We are being told by K. T. Hammond that “the military is at the Aflao border 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.”
Citizenship is a question of law. Neither K.T. Hammond, the military nor anyone can decide who is or who is not a citizen of Ghana.
I have cited the case of Bonito Olympio whose father was Sylvanus Olympio, a former President of Togo.
The NLC attempted to deport him to Togo only for the then Justice Wiredu to hold that both Bonito and Sylvanus are Ghanaians by descent.
Comity requires that if nobody is questioning Mr. Hammond’s citizenship then he, too, should not be questioning the citizenship of others.
I find his statement and attitude frightening and deeply disturbing. I reject it in its entirety.
I also call on the military brass not to allow its men and women to be used as citizenship inspectors!!
We are a peaceful nation because we live in peace. We must keep it that way.
128/1820 is a bona fide scam and sham.