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Nitiwul challenges John Mahama on voter suppression

The Defence Minister urges Mahama to provide credible evidence which will help in finding solutions to a lasting problem, or accept that his allegations are mere accusations

Ghana News Agency (Accra) – The Defence Minister, Dominic Nitiwul, has challenged the presidential candidate of the National Democratic Congress, John Dramani Mahama, to provide evidence to support his claims that the government is using the military to prevent potential applicants from taking part in the ongoing voter registration exercise.

He said for Mahama to cite the recent incident in the Banda area of the Bono Region as an example of voter suppression shows his briefing has been wrong and misleading.

“It is clear that John Dramani Mahama was wrongly briefed, his intelligence is suspect and he has been misled on the incident.”

Nitiwul was addressing the media in Parliament in response to the former president’s allegations and to provide an update on events in the country relating to the voter registration exercise.

He said the Ministry of Defence would never deploy personnel of the Ghana Armed Forces to suppress any voters in Banda.

What had taken place was in keeping with the military’s clear duty to respect orders of the Bono Regional Security Council (REGSEC), he said.

Present a challenge

The REGSEC had held meetings with all the political parties and won their agreement that they would not bus applicants to voter registration centres, the minister said. The parties also agreed that they would not prevent people physically from registering but would use official challenge forms issued by the Electoral Commission as the need arose.

Nitiwul said the agreement mandated the parties to ensure peace before, during and after the voter registration process as well as the December elections.

The agreement was signed by the New Patriotic Party’s parliamentary candidate for Banda, Joe Danquah, and Ahmed Ibrahim, the incumbent MP who is also the parliamentary candidate for the National Democratic Congress.

Reacting to the Defence Minister’s explanation, James Agalga (NDC, Builsa North), the ranking member of the defence and interior committees, said the NDC had expressed reservations at the deployment of the military to the border areas right from the beginning of the registration exercise.

He said viral footage from Banda showed clearly that the real motive behind the deployment of the military was not about preventing people from crossing into Ghana but to ensure voter suppression in NDC strongholds.

He said President Akufo-Addo’s claim that he was unaware of such matters, even though he received daily national security and intelligence briefings, was regrettable.


Agalga criticised the Bono REGSEC, saying it had acted above its powers by deploying the military to mount roadblocks and prevent potential voters from registering.

He said several people in the area were displaced by the construction of the Bui Dam. One would have expected the Electoral Commission to set up new registration centres close to the new settlements where these people live, he said, but this was never done.

He explained that displaced people had to travel long distances to EC centres to register and argued that claims that they were foreigners were unfortunate.

* Asaase Radio 99.5 – tune in or log on to broadcasts online.

Ghana News Agency
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