President Nana Akufo-Addo has explained that the deployment of a number of soldiers in Ghanaian towns bordering neighbouring countries is solely for security purposes and not for voter intimidation.
The deployment of the armed soldiers has been met with criticisms in many quarters, with former President Jerry Rawlings calling for a “sense of fairness and justice” to dwellers in the affected border towns whose livelihoods depend on activities therein.
However addressing the nation on the eve of the start of the voter registration exercise by the Electoral Commission, President Akufo-Addo assured that the deployment has no ulterior motive but the safety of the country’s borders.
“Let me state, without any form of equivocation, that these deployments are not in any way intended to intimidate or prevent eligible Ghanaians from registering to vote in December. They are there for their express purpose, which is to guard our borders. That is the limit of their remit, and they will not be permitted to stray beyond that remit.”
The President underscored how crucial it is for the registration exercise and voting to be held in an atmosphere of peace and security, devoid of intimidation and violence.
“The longstanding deployment of security personnel, especially the military, along our borders is another dimension of this process of guaranteeing the peace of the nation. Fellow Ghanaians, it is no secret that our neighbour to the north, Burkina Faso, has, in recent times, been at the receiving end of a number of terrorist attacks, as has another neighbour, Cote d’Ivoire,” he said.
He also recalled the successes of a similar deployment while parts of the nation were under lockdown as a result of the new corona virus pandemic.
“This development, for example, during the period of the three-week lockdown of Accra, Tema, Kasoa and Kumasi, led to the arrest of some five thousand (5,000) persons along our borders, who had entered our country illegally. Indeed, the first six (6) recorded cases of COVID-19 in the Volta Region, for example, were those of West African nationals, who entered the country illegally,” he said.
Breakdown of deployed soldiers
- Upper East Region – 207
- Northern Region – 110
- North East Region – 102
- Volta Region – 98
- Oti Region – 72
- Upper West – 69
- Bono Region – 64
- Savannah Region – 21
- Western Region – 14
“I have no interest in disenfranchising any eligible Ghanaian from registering in tomorrow’s exercise, nor am I interested in any improper machinations to win any election. I have spent my life fighting for free, democratic institutions in our country, and I will continue in that fight for the rest of my life,” he said.
He added; “The idea of being a President, who emerges from a rigged election, is abhorrent to every fibre of my being. I want to continue to be the President of a Ghanaian people who have given me their free consent, with the blessing of the Almighty.”