Some disappointed youth of the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) in the Volta Region have finally confessed their ‘sins’, revealing how they recruited Togolese nationals to vote in Ghana’s 2012 and previous general elections.
An exercise carried out by the New Patriotic Party (NPP), led by Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, had earlier revealed that several thousands of Togelese nationals had succeeded in having their names on Ghana’s electoral register.
With only 10 percent of work completed so far, regarding the ongoing investigations being conducted into the existing voters’ registers of the two countries, the NPP had managed to identify not less than 76,286 persons whose faces had been captured in both the Ghanaian and Togolese voters’ registers.
In an apparent confirmation of the development, the group of former NDC activists said they actively participated in the recruitment of the Togolese for registration into the electoral roll of Ghana.
Led by one Robert Tetteyfio Adjase, who said he was chairman of the group, Disappointed NDC Youth – who had crossed over to the opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP) – the young men stormed the offices of DAILY GUIDE last week Thursday to narrate how they brought in several Togolese to vote in Ghana, dismissing the NDC General Secretary, Johnson Asiedu Nketia’s position that the current register is okay.
Robert Tetteyfio Adjase, accompanied by other leaders of the group, including its Hohoe chairman, Harker Brempong; Ketu South chairman, Doe Gadekah; Public Relations Officer (PRO), Robert Kabutey and Victor Bogah, stated categorically that the current register is riddled with names of Togolese from Aflao to Nkwanta in the northern Volta and that the over 76,000 Togolese found on the Ghanaian register was just an insignificant number, compared to what really is the case.
Their main concern was the fact that the NDC was kicking against the call for an entirely new voters’ register to be used for the conduct of the 2016 general elections.
This, Adjase said, was because “The NDC and its leadership know that when a new voters’ register is compiled they will lose the 2016 general elections because in the Volta Region, when it’s time for registration, a lot of big men come and then we cross over to the other side of the border, bring in some Togolese, explain to them what we want them to do and then we give them motorbikes, a lot of things, promises, especially this health insurance thing.”
The opposition NPP last week revealed that its initial investigations had uncovered not less than 76, 286 Togolese nationals on Ghana’s existing voters’ register, which many believed was not only flawed but also over-bloated.
The party had petitioned the Electoral Commission (EC) to consider the option of compiling an entirely new register to not only erase the doubts and suspicion, but also facilitate a free and fair election in 2016.
Even though the ruling NDC had rubbished the claims and jumped to the defence of the Electoral Commission, Adjase noted that “it is true” and that “whatever it (NPP) found out about the voters’ register is true” because “we brought people from Togo to come and register; the same people have Ghana’s voter ID cards and Togo ID cards.”
According to Adjase, because Togolese did not enjoy services like the health insurance, they (he and his colleague) used to assist those Togolese to secure Ghana’s National Health Insurance Scheme (NHS) cards which enabled them to register when the voters’ registration exercise was open, to enable them come and vote on election day.
“So they have the health insurance; that’s the promise the NDC has given them, that you can go to hospital free in the country (Ghana),” Adjase narrated, adding that “When they go, we bring them back, then they come and register and later come and vote.”
In return for their votes, these Togolese were given free motorbikes and were also able to access Ghana’s national health insurance system.
“So based on that, we register you and when it is time for voting, you come and then vote. They have been taking advantage of that and when they come it is one particular party they vote for,” Adjase underscored.
Information gathered by DAILY GUIDE indicated that there were not less than 114 unapproved routes between Togo and Ghana, and Adjase admitted they used some of these unapproved routes to bring the Togolese into the country to register and vote during elections.
“When you go to Kpedze, you go to Aflao, Kpetoe, Agotime and other places, Nive, Shia, that is where these things have been done. When they go, they see the chiefs, they beat the gong gong, the people come and then they start registering them,” he narrated.
Stunned by the revelations, this reporter was compelled to ask him if he had been employed by any individual or group of persons to make these claims, and this was how he responded: “Nobody is telling me what to say. It is the work we have been doing and some of my boys. We have been writing the names; even some of us can even vote about 10 to 20 times…Sometimes they bring the voting things and you will just be inside and then be thumb-printing them, Pam! Pam! Pam!”
In view of this, Adjase and his colleague disappointed NDC youth, who have defected to the NPP, insisted that the “voters’ register must be changed. If really the NPP or any different political party wants to come to power in 2016, the EC has to replace the register or else it will remain the same.”
Adjase believed the Volta Region was no longer the world bank of the NDC because according to him, “A lot of youth there are disappointed” and that “If they say they should vote today, In sha Allahu, NPP will have an upper hand over the NDC because they have deceived us and we have done a lot of dubious jobs for them and now we have seen that we are fooling ourselves.”
Asked whether he was speaking out of bitterness over something they were promised but not given, this was what he said: “It is not because of my personal or the group’s interest; we want Ghana to change so that when foreigners enter, they will say that yes we are proud to see these people are Ghanaians.
“It’s time now for the youth to tell the sitting government that even if I am NDC, when they are wrong we tell them that they are doing wrong things so that later, my children’s children shouldn’t come and get into a ditch. Go to the villages in the Volta Region and see, there are people who can’t get one square meal a day. There is no pipe borne water. They cannot even pay for school fees. The youth have to rise up and take the country on our shoulders and make sure we project Ghana because we have all it takes to become a good country.”
Leaders of the group therefore asked the General Secretary of the NDC and the party to stop playing the tribal card over the issues raised by the vice presidential candidate of the NPP, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, regarding his claims that some other nationals had been coming not only from the Volta Region, but also other border countries to vote in Ghana’s elections.
He mentioned the Akans, Ga Adangmes and Guans as some of the tribes found in the Volta Region.