Government has justified the military deployment to parts of the country, but rejected assertions that the action is intended to intimidate eligible Ghanaians from registering in the nationwide voter registration exercise which begins Tuesday.
The presence of the security officers, some having mounted tents and others in a sortie, has been a source of concern for some residents of the Volta Region including the Volta minority caucus in parliament.
According to them, the action is part of government’s agenda to disenfranchise eligible Ghanaians in their electoral strongholds.
But Defence Minister Dominic Nitiwul told journalists Monday that such accusations only smacks of misinformation, mischief and pure propaganda by the NDC and its flagbearer, former President John Mahama.
“It should be ignored; it’s pure mischief, it’s pure propaganda,” an incensed Mr Nitiwul said and warned the masterminds of such false information and tribal agenda to drop it because it does not help the nation.
He explained that the deployment to border areas across the country is 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.
Mr Nitiwul said the situation has been necessitated by the increasing number of novel coronavirus cases in the country notwithstanding the measures put in place by the government to stem the tide.
“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.
‘They’re not arming to polling stations’
According to Mr Nitiwul, 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 stated.
He thus urged all to remain calm as everyone who is eligible to register to vote will have the opportunity to do so when the registration starts on June 30.
“The people of Volta region, particularly the chiefs and people, will register and register well. The people of Ghana will register and register well,” he assured.
We won’t sit aloof
The Minister warned that as a government responsible for the safety of Ghanaians, they “will not sit aloof and allow our people to die because people are crossing into our country”.
The Minister said persons suggesting that the deployment was to only the Volta Region is misplaced.
Government, he said will not allow the interest of any political party whatsoever jeopardise the lives of Ghanaians in general, indicating that it is his duty as a defence minister to make sure that the people of Ghana are safe, especially in this covid-19 era.
“If people have any reason, whether NDC, NPP, CPP or any party has any reason and have the intention of bringing in anybody for whatever purpose, the protocol is very clear; bring them in through the approved channels, let them quarantine themselves for 14 days and then they can do whatever they want to do,” Mr Nitiwul advised.
Once Ghana’s borders remain shut to human traffic, the defence Minister said only cargo will be allowed into the country through its borders and that for Ghanaians who are stranded outside and wishing to come will have to follow the protocols announced by the government.
Such persons, he said, will have to register with Ghana’s embassy in the countries they are stranded after which they will be brought into the country and quarantined for 14 days at their own expenses.
“But to think that as a responsible government when the [covid-19] numbers are going up we will sit down and fold our hands [and] allow people just to come in because a party wants people to come in, that one will not happen,” he stated.