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Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Why soldiers were sent to Banda – GAF replies Asiedu Nketiah

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The Ghana Armed Forces (GAF) has explained why it deplored military personnel to the Banda area for the last phase of the mass voters registration exercise.

According to the GAF, the deployment followed a request by the Bono Regional Security Council (REGSEC).

This was because, the two leading political parties, the National Democratic Congress (NDC) and the New Patriotic Party (NPP) were bussing [transporting] people in their numbers to register and that had earlier resulted in a clash which led to the death of one person.

The General Secretary of the NDC, Mr Johnson Asiedu Nketiah has been seen in a video on social media complaining about the presence of the military in the Banda area and arguing that soldiers were not supposed to be part of the registration process.

Some reports have suggested the military were preventing non residents and people deemed not to be Ghanaians from registering in the area.

Videos circulating on social media show a number of military personnel questioning registrants at a registration centre.

The video also show the military personnel stopping a vehicle – a truck loaded with people – from crossing into the community.

The flagbearer of the NDC, former President John Dramani Mahama for instance in a post on Facebook at the weekend commented on the issue and accused President Akufo-Addo of discriminate use of the military in the voter registration.

GAF’s statement

But a statement signed and issued by the Director of Public Relations of the GAF, Colonel E. Aggrey-Quashie, explained that following the reported allegation of registration restrictions being placed on a section of the community in the Banda area by the military, it has become necessary to situate the issue in context and set the record straight.

“The Military wishes to state that 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 voters registration exercise and after, until the end of the 2020 General Elections in December 2020.”

The full details of the Agreement were 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.

The REGSEC and the Electoral Commission and other stakeholders should meet the Chiefs to determine the boundaries of Banda.

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.

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.

That the two candidates should pledge their support to ensure peace in the Constituency by signing the Peace Agreement offered by REGSEC.

The statement explained that the security agencies were therefore available to support the REGSEC-brokered Agreement.

No specific ethnic group was targeted in this regard. The general public is accordingly informed of these developments, the GAF said.

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