NDC clash with military over voter registration
Two leading figures of the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) have clashed with the Ghana Armed Forces (GAF) over the latter’s role in the ongoing voter registration exercise at Banda in the Bono Region.
The Member of Parliament (MP) for Banda Constituency, Mr. Ahmed Ibrahim, has alleged that the recent violence that rocked the voters’ registration exercise in his constituency was being orchestrated by personnel from the Ghana Armed Forces and members of pro-New Patriotic Party (NPP) vigilante groups.
On the other hand, the General Secretary of the NDC, Asiedu Nketia, also clashed with army officers who were stationed in the constituency over their decision to turn away some people who wanted to register.
Banda has become a flashpoint for violence since the exercise began, with one person killed so far. The Banda legislator lamented that towns in the area have been taken over by army officers and ‘macho’ men. According to him, soldiers are sharing rooms with vigilante members who are acting on the orders of the government.
“Government has sent soldiers and vigilantes to my constituency. Soldiers and vigilantes are sharing hotels. I have never seen something like this before. If a soldier officer is in room one, the vigilante is in room 2. They eat together and do everything together. They initially didn’t want to allow people to register until REGSEC made us sign an MoU to forestall peace,” he said during radio interviews
Mr. Asiedu Nketiah, on his part, rose against military personnel stationed at Banda over the soldiers’ refusal to allow some residents to register in the ongoing voters’ registration exercise.
The NDC scribe was spotted angrily exchanging words with the soldiers who had blocked the road to stop bus loads of people from accessing registration centres. It is unclear where the people were being transported from.
Meanwhile, the Ghana Armed Forces has responded that it is working with all stakeholders to ensure that peace prevails in the constituency.
The GAF has denied allegations of intimidation and preventing people from registering.
The GAF, in a statement, said the deployment of its personnel followed a request made by the Regional Security Council (REGSEC).
According to the GAF, the deployment was necessary because both political parties – the New Patriotic Party and the National Democratic Congress – were busing people to the registration centers, which led to an altercation that led to the death of one person.
Regional Minister calms nerves
Mrs Evelyn Ama Kumi Richardson, Bono Regional Minister, on her part, dismissed claims that the military personnel had been deployed to the region to prevent some ethnic groups from registering in the ongoing voter’s registration exercise.
The Minister said the soldiers were in the community following a peace accord signed between the NDC and NPP parliamentary candidates in the constituency.
“The soldiers there are not preventing anyone from registering. What they are saying is that they’ll not allow people bused to cross the barrier. And that if you are from Banda, walk to the registration center and register. I haven’t received any information that some men dressed in military attire are harassing residents and preventing them from registering, but if such people are seen there, I trust the police to do their work,” she assured.