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Voter Register: Nzema youth calls on govt to quickly withdraw armed soldiers in Ellembelle

Vr Ellembelle Members of the group seated at the presser

Mon, 13 Jul 2020 Source: Daniel Kaku, Contributor

A youth group calling itself the National Alliance for Nzema Development (NAFOND) in Western Region has called on the Defence Ministry of Ghana to as a matter of urgency, withdraw armed soldiers visiting registration centres in Ellembelle Constituency in the region.

It would be recalled that on Monday, June 29, 2020, in a counter-press conference to respond to the Minority Volta Caucus’ claims that government had deployed military in the area to scare eligible voters from registering to acquire voter ID cards, the Defence Minister Dominic Nitiwul dismissed the claim as propaganda and assured the general public that the military would not visit any registration centre in the area and the rest of the country.

Hon. Dominic Nitiwul addressing the media explained that the deployment to border areas across the country was only to assist the Ghana Immigration Service to step up its border patrols on the back of illegal entries from neighbouring countries despite the closure of Ghana’s borders.

"We have deployed across the entire country and the purpose is to aide and support the Ghana Immigration Service to stop people from crossing [into Ghana] because we have too many unapproved routes and COVID the numbers are getting higher and higher", he stated.

According to him, the deployment has no link whatsoever to the upcoming voter registration exercise, noting the soldiers will not be involved or be part of the exercise.

"The soldiers are not coming to any polling station; the soldiers will be at the borders to stop people from coming in or going out", he assured.

But addressing the media at Nzema Aiyinasi on Sunday afternoon, July 12, 2020, the Executive Secretary of NAFOND, Clement Blay said the presence of the armed soldiers in the Ellembelle Constituency was scaring eligible voters from partaking in the on-going voters' registration exercise.

He emphasized that the Electoral Commission (EC) of Ghana officially tasked the Ghana Police Service and Ghana Health Service to provide services at all registration centres across the country and not the service of Ghana Armed Forces.

"We are very much aware of the role of the Ghana Police service in ensuring security at these centres over the years and even now without any need for military men armed or unarmed unless in peculiar circumstances", he stated.

"This called for a press briefing by the Minister of Defence as well as his Deputy all pointing to the fact that all activities of the deployed military were limited to border towns confined to the fight of COVID-19 whereas all other activities should be deemed illegal", he recalled.

He, therefore, described the military presence in Ellembelle Constituency as illegal, adding that if not check well affect the mental health of the people from going out in their numbers to register.

"This illegality if left unchecked will detrimentally affect the mental health of some people significantly as well as inhibit the achievement of the target set by the EC".

Mr. Clement Blay stressed that in Western Region, Ellembelle Constituency has no border town or unapproved route for foreigners to infiltrate to Ghana.

"Ladies and gentlemen, it must be put on record that Ellembelle Constituency, in the Western Region has no border town or unapproved route for foreigners and has no record of conflict or violence in any of its community or point and therefore does not warrant the deployment of heavily armed military men patrolling its registration centres and towns", he stated.

He claimed that, "These military men are moving around perpetuating such illegality in a vehicle belonging to the District Assembly and with a driver of the District Assembly causing unnecessary but substantial financial loss to the people of Ellembelle and exposing the civilian driver who is not trained for military operations to unsafe conditions".

"We call on the EC to act immediately to ensure that the patrolling military are off the electoral process to avoid any future issues of negligence against an institution we deem independent constitutionally", he urged.

He called on government, "We call on you to, with immediate effect stop this activity, quoted with illegality and restore characteristic sanity of our electoral activities historically".

He, therefore, took the opportunity to encourage the media to remain resolute and hold on to their rights by resisting any form of oppression and intimidation and also remain unbiased ahead of December 7 General Elections.

Read below the full statement of National Alliance for Nzema Development (NAFOND)



Good afternoon ladies and gentlemen of the press herein present, we the members of NAFOND deem it as a necessity to carry out this press conference on this day, 12th of July, 2020, based on pressing recent developments surrounding the compilation of the new voters register.

NAFOND is a non-governmental organization, no partisan and non-profit organization which consists of hundreds of youth across Nzemaland.

It seeks to be the official mouthpiece or advocacy platform for the Nzemaland particularly the youth. In view of this, we recognize the electoral process as an integral part of the development of every nation hence an interest in the process for registration of voters for the December 7, 2020 elections.

Source: Daniel Kaku, Contributor
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