Defence Minister Dominic Nitiwul studied finance, thus, knows nothing about Ghana’s security system, Mr David Agbee, Executive Director of the Ghana Institute of Governance and Security, has said.
He has, therefore, wondered why, in his view, season military officers in the Ghana Armed Forces, are allowing themselves to be manipulated by the Bimbilla MP in allegedly preventing Ewes from taking party in the near-ending voter registration exercise being undertaken by the Electoral Commission of Ghana.
“The most surprising one and the disgusting one is that the military men that I do know, senior men in the military, who know what defence and security is all about, have allowed themselves for Nitiwul, who does not know anything about security systems in our country, [to be] misusing them”, Mr Agbee told Valentina Ofori-Afriyie on Class91.3FM’s 505 news programme on Monday, 3 August 2020.
“Who is Nitiwul? Where does Nitiwul actually come from?” he asked.
“He [Nitiwul] has no knowledge about security”, Mr Agbee insisted.
“He only did finance and finance is totally different from military”, he pointed out.
“When you study corporate finance and you study finance, it doesn’t mean that you understand what security is all about and the security men that I do know, they know that security is about the sovereignty, the protection of civilians”, Mr Agbee noted.
Meanwhile, Mr Nitiwul had earlier denied allegations made by former President John Mahama that the Akufo-Addo government is using the military to prevent Voltarians and non-Akans from taking part in the voter registration exercise.
“The government has not conceived of, the government did not plan, the government has no intention, the government will not plan and will never have an intention of suppressing any potential voter who is a Ghanaian, who is qualified and who is of sound mind and above 18 years from registering”, Mr Nitiwul told the parliamentary press corps on Monday, 3 July 2020.
“We have over 30,000 polling stations across the country. Of course, there’s been incidences in one or two polling stations but generally, this registration has been very peaceful and has been very orderly”, he said.
He explained that the presence of the army is to foil infiltration by aliens.
“As I stated before, we deployed the military to the borders to support the Immigration Service to ensure that the borders remain firmly closed and that no human goes into Ghana or outside Ghana”, he noted.
The lawmaker said: “If there will be any movement, then it’s going to be cargo”.
“Cargo is allowed to come into the country, cargo is allowed to move out of the country. Of course, cargo vehicles are driven by human beings but for human traffic, whether by foot, by air, by sea, under the ground, or whichever means, the military was tasked to support the immigration and resisted all of them”, he added.
“And we know that people have tried and continue to try to come into this country”, he revealed.
According to him, “during the lockdown period, we had over 5,000 people try to cross into this country and these were arrested by the Immigration Service. You can imagine the numbers that were arrested”, he said.
“The former president is wrong and misled to think that the military is being used to suppress people. The Volta Region he cited, can anybody tell me that the figures in the Volta Region are lower than the national average? Obviously not. So, where is the voter suppression? Are the figures in the Northern Region lower than the national average? Obviously not. Are the figures in the Greater Accra Region also lower than the national average? It is also a no. So, where is the voter suppression here again? We also have over 30,000 registration centres, how many centres have we seen military personnel visit for anybody to conclude there is voter suppression? Of course, they have visited registration centres where there is trouble and they will continue to places where there is trouble but for anybody to conclude, especially a former president and Commander-in-Chief of the Ghana Armed Forces, to conclude there is voter suppression, he is misleading the people.”
Mr Mahama had said in a statement that: “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.
He promised: “They will surely never happen under a new NDC administration because we will foster a spirit of peace and unity in our nation”.
As Commander-in-Chief, Mr Mahama pledged, “I will not use our military in such a partisan manner to terrorise our own people, and in matters that are purely civil and dwell in the very heart of our constitutional democracy”.
Meanwhile, the Electoral Commission of Ghana has said the exercise has entered its sixth and final phase starting today, Saturday, 1 August 2020.
The exercise ends on Thursday, 6 August 2020.
The election management body has, thus, urged eligible voters who have not yet registered to try and do so.
It said in a statement that it is ensuring strict adherence to COVID-19 protocols at the centres.
"The Commission assures members of the public that it will enforce all the safety protocols at all Registration Centres throughout the country," it added.
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