After blatantly denying knowledge of violence recorded in some constituencies during the just-ended registration exercise, President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has finally succumbed to the unwelcoming pressure that greeted his comments.
In his 15th address to the nation on measures taken against the spread of the novel Coronavirus, Sunday, August 16, 2020 the president admitted to the recorded cases of violence and intimidation recorded in the registration process across the country.
However, without any specificity, he referred the cases to the appropriate state security agencies.
He said, “There were nonetheless deep regrettable isolated incidents of violence which I condemn unreservedly which I expect the police to deal with without fear or favour but the exercise was generally peaceful. The Ghanaian people by the conduct of this exercise have demonstrated our commitment once again to consolidating our status as the beacon of democracy on the continent and in the world.”
It would be recalled that the president in an address to Islamic worshipers at the Kumasi Central Mosque on Friday 31st July, 2020 intimated that he was not aware of any form of violence or intimidation at registration centres across the country.
He is quoted to have said “One thing that excites me most is that the registration exercise in Ashanti region and other areas has been very peaceful, I haven’t heard of any person being denied the opportunity to register on grounds that you are not this or what so go we can't register you every person has the right to go and register.”
The president’s utterance was widely condemned as one which was an affront to the national efforts to restore peace in the voters registration exercise.
In was also considered by some political critics as a cover up for his Minister, Mavis Hawa Koomson, who in a live radio interview admitted to playing pivotal roles violence that marred the registration exercise in her constituency, where she is Member of Parliament.
In her interview she said, “none of my men had guns on then when we got to the centre. I fired the shots myself…I’m a Member of Parliament, I need to protect myself. It was at dawn; my police escort had not started work yet. So that is a mechanism I have adopted in his absence…”
That wasn’t the only instance of violence which was recorded in the registration process. In border communities like Ketu South and Banda, some residents cried foul over attempts by some military personnel deployed to their area to intimidate them.
Other cases of violent clashes which led to the unfortunate death of at least two persons were recorded.
However, in spite of these pockets of violence recorded, the Electoral Commission headed by Jean Mensa has concluded the process with over 16 million names registered.
The president in his address also gave the commission a pat on their back and described the entire process as “generally peaceful.”
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