Dr. Archibald Yao Letsa, Volta Regional Minister and the New Patriotic Party (NPP) Member of Parliament (MP) for Adansi-Asokwa in the Ashanti Region, K.T. Hammond, have given conflicting claims on the heavy deployment of personnel of the Ghana Armed Force (GAF) and other security agencies in part of the Volta Region, as well as the Oti Region.
While, K.T. Hammond, disclosed that the heavy deployment is a measure put in place by the Akufo-Addo government to control Ghana's border to prevent foreigners from participating in the upcoming national exercise, the Volta Regional Minster insist, the presence of military personnel in some communities along the Ghana -Togo border, was to safeguard the border as people continue to use unapproved routes into the country in the wake of COVID-19 surge in Ghana.
Residents in the Ketu South Municipality of the Volta Region in particular, have expressed concern over the rise in the number of security personnel amid allegations of abuse, a situation which some have said was causing fear and panic among them.
Electoral activities around Ghana-Togo border, have also been of interest to the NPP. Indeed, the former NPP Volta Regional Chairman, John Peter Amewu, currently the Minister of Energy after the 2016 elections, in an interview on The Pulse on the JOYNEWS channel, praised the former Ghanaian leader for helping the NPP emerge victorious in the December 7 polls, especially in the Volta Region.
Mr Amewu, had claimed Mr Rawlings, contributed to the low turnout of voters in the Volta Region, considered the stronghold of the National Democratic Congress (NDC).
The hotheaded NPP MP, in response to the Minority spokesperson on Defence and Interior James Agalga, in Parliament said "The military is there to make sure you vote if you are a Ghanaian and if you have the constitutional right to vote. That's all there is. They are not electoral officers ,but they are peacekeeping forces. They are keeping the peace."
However, Dr.Letsa fired back with a different explanation for the increased security deployment ,saying "as far as we are concerned, we are only enforcing the closure of the borders which remain closed till otherwise directed."
The Electoral Commission (EC) , has set tomorrow, June 30, to compile a new voters' register for the presidential and parliamentary elections, and TK Hammond, insists that the government will not allow unqualified persons to infiltrate the new electoral roll.
"They [Togolese] walk in [Volta Region] and come out normally, but they are not Ghanaians. When they walk in there, they can do
whatever they do, so I guess that is the reason for that," he said.
The MP, cited the second round of the 2008 general elections, where he says foreigners were allowed to participate in the exercise in Ketu South Constituency.
According to him , "the Togolese and the Voltarians.. when I talk Voltarians, I mean Volta Region, there's a kind of history. Remember the history if you guys know the history of our… basically the same tribe. So they walk in come but they are not Ghanaians. ..when they walk in there, they can do whatever they do. So I guess that is the reason for that. There is a classic example. Remember 2008? The second round? I have so much a hundred thousand or so votes leading Prof. Mills at the time of the second round. The next round. One constituency. Ketu South or so, it cleared all the this thing. Whatever we had. Where did it come from? So everybody from whatever, they came to vote. So this is what the whole thing is about. 35,000 at the time voted the next one, everybody else on earth at the time voted; where were they coming? So, this is the whole issue we want there to be sanity. The military is there to make sure that you vote if your were a Ghanaian. You want if you have a constitutional right in Ghana to vote. That's all there's there. They're not electoral officers but they are peacekeeping force. They're keeping the peace".
When reminded that the Aflao border had been shut, KT Hammond CHARGED ".Aflao is shut ,but is Aflao, the only whatever? So the so the soldiers, the immigration, the police, the what, they are just maintaining the peace. Making sure that there is no infiltration. Come on let's be serious. What is the point in going through all that he had gone through, in Supreme Court and all that and I allow a porous border for people to come through and to infiltrate the register again? W would have been back to where we started."
KT Hammond, believes the presence of the military, will curtail its recurrence during the exercise.
Speaking on JoyNews Prime last Friday night, Dr. Letsa, disclosed that the regional security council, had requested more forces to assist in that regard, a situation which he says was not a novelty.
He, however, dismissed claims that the reinforcement, had anything to do with Tuesday's new voter registration exercise, contrary to K.T Hammond and James Agalga's assertions.
"Maybe because it's close to the registration of voters people are reading other meanings and motives into it…
"As far as I am aware, this is not meant to intimidate anybody. This is not supposed to interfere with voter registration."
Dr Letsa, in another interview with the Ghana News Agency (GNA) on the same subject, said the Region is enjoying "absolute peace, stability" and developing rapidly. The "security is intact and we are developing very fast." The Regional Minister, said this in response to alleged comments by the Regional Chairman of the NDC, suggesting the region was not peaceful.Dr Letsa, said the region is witnessing rapid socioeconomic development and asked chiefs and the people of the Region to disregard the comment allegedly made by Henry Ametefe, NDC Volta Regional Chairman.He said, the presence of military personnel in some communities along the Ghana -Togo border, was to safeguard the border as people continue to use unapproved routes into the country in the wake of COVID 19.He said government had a responsibility to ensure the safety of the citizenry, therefore, as people continue to infiltrate the borders through unapproved routes, it was important that security at the borders was beefed up to safeguard the lives of the citizenry.Dr Letsa, said construction works were on going on major roads in the Region and that NDC's claim that the Government had abandoned the roads was untrue.M rEdem Elliot Agbenorwu, Municipal Chief Executive (MCE) for Ketu South, debunked reports that military personnel deployed to the area, were moving from house to house checking nationality of people and intimidating them.He said the personnel were discharging their "normal duties without any intimidation," and should be allowed to work.
The Minority in Parliament last week demanded the withdrawal of military personnel deployed to the strongholds on the opposition NDC ahead of the registration of the new voters' poll.Military personnel are deployed to the Volta, Oti, Northern, Upper East, and Upper West Regions.
James Agalga, addressing the press in Parliament, accused the government of spearheading the said deployment to intimidate residents in the Volta region and prevent them from participating in the upcoming new voters' registration exercise which it vehemently resisted.
"There is a certain scheme which is designed by the government to intimidate our teeming supporters from coming out in their numbers to register and have their names on the new voter register," James Agalga, said June 26.In the Volta Region, the NDC, said the soldiers are stationed and doted within and along with the border communities right from Aflao Beat Zero to Duta, down to Yame-Lente and Wudoaba are seen openly harassing, intimidating and restricting movements of our residents to the extent of even following them to their abodes without a permit.The Minority, said they were more concerned with happenings in the Volta Region, especially the Ketu North and South districts, adding that the residents feel threatened to come out and register to vote in the elections.Later, James Agalga, in an interview on Accra-based Starr FM said "There is this erroneous perception that every Voltarian who lives or works in Togo is not a Ghanaian. The truth is that some are dual citizens and they have the legal basis to vote as accepted under our laws."According to him, there is a certain scheme designed by the government to intimidate the teeming supporters of the NDC from registering."The real reason why they have deployed the soldiers there is to intimidate them and to ensure that they don't exercise their constitutional rights of registering to vote in the polls," he added.