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A decisive response to the Ghana military’s presence at polling stations

Wed, 5 Aug 2020 Source: Goldgem Infinity

News has been circulating that the General Secretary of the largest Opposition Party in Ghana, Mr Asiedu Nketiah, (a.k.a., General Moqusito) confronted some Military Personnel noticed to be turning some folks away from registering to vote in the Banda area of the Bono Region.

Asiedu Nketiah was right for asserting that the Armed Forces have no business at the Polling Stations.

In the Military’s response to General Mosquito’s concerns, it was indicated that the Military only answered to a request by the Regional Security Council. But without boring the reader with further details in that request, it must be emphatically established that it doesn't matter who put in the request for the Military's presence.

If the Commanders had been on top of issues, and were readily responsive to uphold our Constitution, however promptly, they would have found out that their presence at the Polling Station was unconstitutional, and should have turned down the request, with a possible advisement that the Police be used for that exercise, instead, even if Security was genuinely threatened.

Our military must not just jump on a fly to send troops, whenever a rogue President, or some surrogate of his, demands for its presence on a local scene. Such frequent misuse of the Soldiers cheapens their importance and Service to the Nation. It also undermines the confidence and responsibilities of the Police to the larger detriment of the Nation.

It is absolutely necessary that in spite of the long existing status of general peace all around our borders, our military not be distracted by such local agitations as might be seldom engaged in by some part of the domestic Public.

Moreover, such situations are why we have the Police. It is only when the Police have expressed their utter run-down by the crowd, or entities they are dealing with, to the point of triggering some existential threat to the nation that some military help might be needed.

The Ministry of Interior under which the Police serve must not relinquish its obligations and defer its responsibilities to other Agencies or Ministries without due collaborative examination and consensus. It should not dabble into the affairs of the Defense Ministry and vice versa. Any desirable coordination between the two, and any similar duo Ministries, for that matter, ought to follow Constitutional precepts.

Such is the reason the USA, for instance, has the Posse Commitatus Law that prohibits the military to interfere with domestic issues. The US military, as professional and non-Partisan as it is, and wishes to stay, strongly objected to a recent deployment of some unidentifiable Para-Military Personnel Trump unleashed on Peaceful Protesters in Washington DC and elsewhere, wearing military camouflage outfit. The Military in the US sees that as a potential illegal action by Trump to let his Secret Police or Militia pose as the US military to taunt ordinary folks exercising their rights.

Only a despotic regime would so often rush to engage the domestic public with military brawn. This behavior of the government plus its alacrity to send the BNI to arrest citizens protesting or criticizing it, and the dubious firing of Auditors-General who might be looking deeply into potential scandalous actions of its members, and the late-hour voter-registration re-creation are all the attributes of a Dictator who wants to cheat to stay in power.

The sudden de-legitimization of the birth certificate as a proof of Ghanaian identity is one more tyrannical tool to suppress dissent by a likely tyrant.

Ghanaians, be they NPP or NDC or any other political group, must not sit idle to let this go on unchecked. Military presence at local Polling Stations is simply unacceptable in any democratic Nation. Such presence of the military could be seen as intimidating potential Voters away from voting.

Voter suppression, as is going on, now, amounts to stealing elections even before they are held. If the NPP believes, therefore, in its governance performance, thus far, it does not need any of these shenanigans to win the Elections.

The party must remember that Ghanaians know how to turn the tables, and some day, when the opposition returns to power, it could mete out to the NPP worse things. Our democracy does not need to be pulled through such fits and starts.

The President must not flagrantly misuse our soldiers for his narrow political interests. And all eligible Ghanaians must be allowed to vote. Period! Long Live Ghana!!!

Columnist: Goldgem Infinity