Recent reports of heavily armed military officers victimizing and turning away citizens from registering in the ongoing voter registration exercise to be able to vote in the upcoming elections of December 7th, has come to our attention.
The videos of particular reference, were captured in the Banda Constituency of the Bono Region of the Republic of Ghana which comes in the wake of other similar incidents in other parts of the country.
We believe that the intended purpose for the registration exercise embarked upon by the Electoral Commission of Ghana which began on the 30th of June, 2020 was to afford all eligible citizens the opportunity to enrol onto the new register of voters and not an avenue to deliberately exclude a section of the Ghanaian public from the exercise of their rights to vote in national elections.
The incident, which involved some Ewe communities in the Banda area of fishing communities whose members were availing themselves at the nearest registration centers to be registered for the purpose of voting in the upcoming elections is unacceptable. From eye witness accounts, these are individuals who have lived in the community for decades and have since been represented in the Regional House of Chiefs by a chief so recognised by the state.
The use of soldiers for this purpose, is unfortunate and unwarranted and also creates a bad image for our security agencies as tools in the hands of politicians in victimizing and abusing the rights of citizens. Not long ago, the Electoral Commission, had had cause to issue a statement baring politicians from registration centers. We are of the view that a similar statement would be warranted from the Commission for these military officers to stop the intimidations and vacate the area to allow for a peaceful exercise.
The Commission has a mandate to ensure to register all who are qualified to register. The exercise of the rights of the citizens in this regard, is inalienable and must be protected and guaranteed at all times. The presence of heavily armed military officers at registration centers, threatens the very cordiality that must be maintained at all centers. It is important for the Commission to therefore, indicate its abhorrence to these unwarranted intimidations.
The issue of citizenship of this Republic, is a matter spelt out under Chapter Three of the 1992 Constitution. No where in this Constitution, is it stated, or suggested that the mere migration either internal or external, strips one off his or her citizenship as a Ghanaian. The laws providing for the compilation of the new register, has inherent in it, the processes for challenging the citizenship of any citizen. It does not lie in force, or the use of intimidations by any security officer or officers.
We are by this release, calling on the Military Command, to take steps to ensure that these incidents being witnessed with the thick involvement of their members, is corrected without further delay. As the registration enters its final phase, we wish to reiterate the need to ensure a peaceful process that would guarantee everyone eligible, an entry into the register for the purpose of voting in the upcoming elections of December 7th. Long live this motherland.
Stephen Kwabena Attuh
Fred Adomako Williams