At least more than one thousand five hundred residents of two rebel held mining communities in Bole district of the Northern region will not be voting in this year’s elections following activities of remnants of disbanded Ivorian rebels.
Activities of the suspected rebels in Kui and Dollar power town, the two Ghanaian communities that share border with neighboring Ivory Coast were said to have made it practically impossible for Electoral Commission to extend polling stations to the areas despite earlier assurance.
The two border communities have reportedly been a sanctuary for Former president Laurent Gbagbo’s backed rebel gang- Young Patriot, after he was forced out of office in 2011.
According to settlers the rebels have taken control of that isolated and insecure stretch of Ghana extorting money from traders and illegal miners and making it hugely difficult for government and nonprofit organizations to spread out amenities and aid packages.
Speaking to Kasapa News, Son of chief of Kui, Abubakari Saddik said Electoral Commission discontinued advanced plan to create polling stations in the area citing insecurity after a convoy of the District Security Council was ambushed by the rebels killing a military officer and injuring many others including a fire officer.
He revealed the commission in 2012 after series of protest by the illegal miners promised an extension of polling stations only to back down after the incident disenfranchising many people who had refused to travel back home to partake in the registration exercise.
Abubakari says the nearest electoral area Ntereso is miles away from the rebel controlled communities and those with voter cards are not ready to risk their lives.
“We are over 2,000 people around here about 85-90% they are not voting because ID cards; some have, but they will not be voting because they can’t travel all the way to Accra, Nandom, Walewale and Ho just to vote. If they was polling station here all of them will register here and will vote here”
Responding to the claim, the District Electoral Officer, Francis Wiredu said the commission as an institution guided by laws does not create polling stations “upon the request of the people”.
According to him the commission was worried about the volatile nature of the communities, however added that “if commission upon taking into consideration all the factors that we use in doing our demarcation and it happens that we have to create a center at their end, commission would make sure it is created.”