The Member of Parliament for Ellembelle, Mr Emmanuel Kofi Armah Buah has said some soldiers have been deployed to his constituency and are terrorising the electorate in the ongoing voter registration exercise.
He told Accra 100.5FM’s parliamentary correspondent Richard Appiah Sarpong on Thursday, 9 July 2020 that he inquired from the Defence Minister about the presence of the military in Ellembelle and was told that the soldiers had been deployed to the border towns to protect Ghana’s territories.
The former Energy Minister said he found the explanation strange because in his view Ellembelle is not a border town to warrant military presence.
“What at all are the soldiers doing? Within 24 hours, we are telling the Defence Minister and Military Command to investigate the matter and withdraw them from the town”, he said.
“They should not use the military to intimate Ghanaians, our soldiers are not introduced to intimidate Ghanaians who are exercising their legitimate rights.”
A few weeks ago, the Minority in Parliament as well as the NDC, complained about the deployment of soldiers to its electoral strongholds Volta and Oti Regions.
Defence Minister Dominic Nitiwul later explained that the soldiers and officers of the Ghana Armed Forces were deployed across the entire country and not just to the Volta and Oti Regions.
Addressing journalists at the Information Ministry on Monday, 29 June 2020, Mr Nitiwul said operation ‘Enhanced Calm Life’ will last for as long as the President keeps Ghana’s borders closed.
Mr Nitiwul gave the breakdown of the deployment as follows: Volta Region – three officers, 95 soldiers; Oti Region – two officers, 70 soldiers; Northern Region – five officers, 105 soldiers; North-East Region – three officers, 99 soldiers; Upper East – eight officers, 199 soldiers; Upper West – three operational areas – Wa (One officer, 15 soldiers), Tumu (One officer, 35 soldiers), Hamile (four officers, 15 soldiers); Savanna (Damongo and Bole) – no officers, 21 soldiers; Bono Region – 64 soldiers.
“I am giving you these statistics for you to know that there’s no agenda against a particular tribe”, Mr Nitiwul said, adding: “In fact, if you add the numbers, the Konkonbas, which is my tribe, have the most soldiers stationed [with them] than any other tribe in Ghana. I have an agenda against my own tribe?”
According to him, the Konkombas are the majority tribe in the North-East and Oti Regions, insisting: “There’s no agenda of the government of Ghana against any particular tribe”.
“I want to urge the people who are going on that particular tangent to drop it. It doesn’t help us”, the Bimbilla MP noted.
He said the Volta Region has the fourth-highest number of military personnel deployed there (98) relative to the Upper East – 207, Northern Region – 110 and North-East Region – 102.
“So, I want the chiefs and the people of the Volta Region to know that the information the NDC Minority and former President John Mahama are feeding them is pure propaganda”, Mr Nitiwul said, adding: “It should be ignored, it’s pure mischief, it’s pure propaganda”.
He said: “We have deployed across the entire country and the purpose is to aid and support the Ghana Immigration Service to stop people from crossing [into Ghana] because we have too many unapproved routes and the COVID numbers are getting higher and higher and higher and we will not sit aloof and allow our people to die because people have crossed into our country”.
Mr Nitiwul said: “If people have any reason – whether NDC, NPP, CPP or any other party – of bringing in anybody for whatever purpose, the protocol is very clear: Bring them in through the approved channels. Let them be quarantined for 14 days, then they can do whatever they want to do. But for the people of Ghana, I’m concerned about their health. It’s my duty to make sure that the people of Ghana are safe, and, at this particular time, we are all in danger”.
“For anybody to suggest that we just deployed only to Aflao or Volta Region, it’s misplaced, its misinformation and the person is just seeking mischief”, he stressed.
The Defence Minister urged eligible Ghanaians in the Volta Region to go about their electoral processes without fear or favour since the army personnel are not there to intimidate but rather protect them.
“The people of the Volta Region, particularly the chiefs and people will register and register well. The people of Ghana will register and register well. The soldiers are not coming to any polling station, the soldiers will be at the border to stop people from coming in or going out across the whole border – Volta, Oti, Northern, North-East, Upper East, Upper West, Bono, Western-North and Savanna – … and the soldiers are to help the Immigration [Service] to stop anybody from crossing into Ghana or leaving Ghana because our borders are locked to human traffic. What we’ll accept is cargo but for human traffic, we’ll not accept”.
“If you want to bring any human being in, go to the Ghana Embassy, register and that person will come in and spend time at his own cost for a quarantine period of 14 days and once we are OK that that person is not a COVID-19 patient, that person can go. But to think that a responsible government, when the numbers [of COVID-19] are going up, will sit and fold our arms to allow people just to come in because a particular party wants people to come in, that one will not happen”.