Former President, Flt. Lt. Jerry John Rawlings, has waded into the controversies surrounding the deployment of military and other security personnel in some parts of the Volta and Oti regions ahead of the voters’ registration exercise.
As the country prepares to start the voters’ registration exercise on Tuesday, June 30, there’s been concerns over the rise in the number of security personnel in the two regions.
With the Volta and Oti regions known to be the stronghold of the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC), the party believes government wants to suppress voters by intimidating residents with the military’s presence but government says the deployment of the security personnel in the regions is to enforce the border closure as part of measures to control the importation of COVID-19 into the country.
While there continues to be debate over the deployment, the Minority Members of the Volta Caucus in Parliament have headed to Ketu South to access the situation on the ground and solidarize with the residents.
Reacting to the brouhaha on the military’s deployment, former President Rawlings said the security personnel in the regions is generating animosity among residents and also creating a lot of suspicions at the time the borders are already closed.
In a press statement, the former President said “The presence of the military and other security agencies in some parts of the Volta and Oti Regions is generating animosity especially amongst innocent citizens whose basic way of life is being disrupted.”
“The deployment along the borders at peacetime especially at this particular point in time has created so much suspicion and will call for a lot of intelligent flexibility and diligence,” part of the statement read.
Cautioning government to be mindful of their actions and urging for a fair registration exercise, Rawlings said the security presence in the regions is overbearing and intimidating residents.
According to him, “the COVID-19 restrictions have created enough difficulties for most of our citizens. Let us not make it worse with overbearing and intimidating behaviour towards our border dwellers whose livelihood solely depend on activities along the border.”
He added, “Ahead of the voter registration exercise and the December elections, it is important that we demonstrate a sense of fairness and justice to all individuals and groups of people whilst maintaining the integrity and the sanctity of the process.