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Opinions of Tuesday, 4 August 2020

Columnist: David Agbee

Stop the misuse of the Ghana Armed Forces in this year's voter registration exercise

The Ghana Institute of Governance and Security (GIGS) has observed and taken notices of the troubling misuse of the Ghana Armed Forces in this year's voter registration exercise in some parts of the country.

Surprisingly, since the beginning of this year's registration exercise, we have seen the military deployment to the Volta Region and some parts of Bono Region to intimidate and harass some registrants shamefully which amounts to the abuse by the military.

In fact, there have been many reports and video evidence in the Banda community which saw some military men deployed to the area seen acting in discriminatory against Voltarian ethnic groups in that area trying to prevent some people purported to be of Volta extraction from registering.

Indeed, we have been following the various abuse and intimidating reported incidents by the security forces against some civilian registrants at Drobonso, Tepa, Asawase constituencies in the Ashanti Region, Ketu South in the Volta Region, and Daaboase in the Wasa East district, Axim, Ellembelle and Jumoro all in the Western Region.

These ethnic targeting and discriminations are grievous abuse happening under the presidency of Nana Akuffo Addo which is too bad enough to taint the image of Ghana in the eyes of the international community. We are in fact, warning against the misuse of the Ghana Armed Forces in the registration exercise because it has serious implications and going forward it will serve as a precedent for any future government which will go a long way to undermine our civil means of voter registrations.

It is more important than ever before for some of these cases to be brought to the attention of the president for action. It is imperative to keep in mind that the constructive military hierarchies are not happy with some of happenings as they have implications on the cohesion of the military.

In fact, we want to advise that the military is a serious institution and it should be used to improve its relationships with the civilians to ensure democratic rules of governance and for the deepening of democracy rather than being used to discriminate against certain ethnic groups as we are going into our eight (8) democratic elections on December 7, 2020.

Most importantly, we wish to advise the president against some of these ethnic discriminations, harassment and intimidation under his political administration if not stopped will disrupt the peaceful co-existence of the people of this country.

We therefore, ask the senior military officers to sit down with the government to make discuss the best solutions that would make the military become more friendly to Ghanaians under these COVID-19 conditions rather than being used to fight a course for a government in power. The military should never be seen in that light.

It is crucial that the military be encouraged to continue to prevent, control the despotic attitude of any government in Ghana and not tolerate any reckless misuse of their energies on ordinary civilians who are their own brothers and sisters.

As a matter of fact, Ghanaians have not borne witnesses to this type of military deployment to voter registration centers since 1992.

We finally wish to encourage some of the military personnel to be careful in the discharge of their duties dispassionately at this critical and crucial period of voter registration exercise and towards election 2020.

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