Minister for Defence Mr Dominic Nitiwul has challenged former President John Dramani Mahama to provide evidence of the voter suppression he is alleging against the military.
According to him, the former President is wrong and has been misled to think the Military is being used by the government to suppress people from registering for the voters’ card.
He reiterated that the Ministry of Defence has not and will not deploy members of the Ghana Armed Forces to subdue and harass any citizen qualified to register from doing so.
Mr. Nitiwul spoke to the media in Parliament on Monday in response to a Facebook post by Mr. John Mahama in which he accused President Nana Akufo-Addo of using the military and party thugs to stop people from exercising their rights to register and vote in the upcoming December elections.
According to him, the government did not and will never entertain any intention of suppressing potential voters from registering as depicted by the former President in a video he attached to his post.
The Military, he said, have been deployed to border towns to support the Immigration Service to ensure the borders remain firmly closed and that no human traffic enters the country.
Mr Nitiwul explained that during the lockdown over 5,000 people were arrested trying to cross into the country and stressed the Military is just doing its job securing the borders of the country.
NDC misled Ketu South
The Defence Minister argued that the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) shot itself in the foot when it misled its supporters in Ketu South to believe the military was deployed only to the constituency.
“Are the Armed Forces being used to suppress voters, I would say no as I said there were incidents in one or two constituencies but these do not justify such allegations.
“It’s very clear that there is no voter suppression because the military has not gone to any polling station in Ketu South.
“If the former President has any evidence to the contrary he should bring it and the Ministry of Defence will act on it. We are calling on him to provide evidence of the allegation he is making,” he stated.
Mr. Nitiwul said the Office of a former President is a respected one and stressed that Mr John Mahama may be a candidate but he and his followers should be aware he is also a former President whose position is respected.
“And so if he makes this type of allegations, we need evidence and proof so that we will act,” he added.
The Minister argued in the Banda Constituency, the Military only stopped the General Secretary of the NDC, Johnson Asiedu Nketiah, from busing voters to registration centers contrary to an agreement by the parties and their Parliamentary candidates and the Regional Security Council.
He maintained that the soldiers would continue to enforce that agreement, stressing constituents should go by themselves to the registration centers to register.
Former Deputy Minister of Interior, James Agalga, speaking on the matter argued the deployment of the Military was a deliberate attempt to stop some citizens from registering in the ongoing exercise.
According to him, the video of the Military blockade in Banda with armoured vehicles and heavy weaponry stopping hordes of people from passing through to go to register was evidence of the government’s intention, which the NDC has raised concerns about severally.