Care for Free and Fair Elections (CARE Ghana), a civil society organization which focuses on election related matters, has accused the government of sowing seed of confusion among the security agencies ahead of the elections.
Addressing a press conference in Accra on Wednesdaym the Executive Secretary of CARE Ghana, David Kumi Addo, alleged that the government has, through the security hierarchy, ordered security personnel to foment trouble in the stronghold of the opposition NDC on election day to prevent people from voting.
“We are reliably informed that some leadership of the security services have directed security officers posted to opposition strongholds on elections day to intimidate and harass innocent voters as was done in the registration exercise,” Kumi Addo alleged.
He added,”Whiles many regular well trained security officers feel their duty and responsibility does not allow them to create confusion but to protect lives, limbs and property others are willing to comply. This development is creating some anxiety and misunderstanding among the security officers and badly affecting morale.”
He then urged the security agencies to fiercely resist the pressure from their bosses, adding that their job is to protect lives and properties and not to operate based on the parochial interest of some selfish political elements in Government.
Below is the statement;
PRESS CONFERENCE BY CARE FOR FREE AND FAIR ELECTIONS GHANA (“CARE” GHANA) ON THE 2ND DECEMBER, 2020 TO ADDRESS DISTURBING SECURITY MATTERS IN THE UPCOMING ELECTIONS
Friends of the media, we appreciate your swift response to joining Care for Free and Fair Elections Ghana (“CARE” GHANA) call on the Electoral Commission (EC) to make adequate provision for nose mask and other Personal Protective Equipment PPE at all polling centers as a measure to protect voters and officers from contracting the Coronavirus (COVID-19).
This call is to prevent any attempt by EC officials or security officers from turning away eligible voters who may not be wearing face covering nose mask when they attend the polling centers to cast their ballot. It is also to prevent the spread of the virus as people queue to vote and observe during counting periods.
As we know, the second wave of COVID – 19 is on the surge especially in Europe and America. Just when we thought we have won the battle against COVID-19 the world is becoming overwhelmed by the second wave of this deadly virus. Whiles America and some European countries record increasing numbers of infections, coronavirus related death has hit higher numbers across the globe. As Ghana goes to the polls on 7th December, 2020 to elect new government, it is very necessary for us to put proper preparation in place to ensure maximum protection of lives during and after the elections.
AGITATION AND CONFUSION IN THE SECURITY SERVICES
Ladies and Gentlemen of the media, it has become necessary to use this forum to address very worrying situations in the upcoming elections. Our information has it that, there are a lot of agitations and confusion brewing among the security services and this is seething anger within the ranks.
We are reliably informed that some leadership of the security services have directed security officers posted to opposition strongholds on elections day to intimidate and harass innocent voters as was done in the registration exercise. Whiles many regular well trained security officers feel their duty and responsibility does not allow them to create confusion but to protect lives, limbs and property others are willing to comply. This development is creating some anxiety and misunderstanding among the security officers and badly affecting morale.
We will like to call on all security officers to ignore such directive and assure them of our support, and that of the general public. We encourage them to positively defy this wicked and nation wrecking directive from their superiors. Our men in uniform should know that the ammunition given to them is the property of the Ghanaian people procured with the tax payer’s money for the purposes of protecting and not to hurt, or maim the citizenry; to protect our young democracy not to subvert it; to maintain law, peace and order but not create lawlessness, disorderliness and insecurity.
PREVENTING NON-GHANAIANS FROM VOTING
Ladies and gentlemen, “CARE” GHANA is also aware that the EC has further directed the Ghana police service to prevent non-Ghanaians from participating in the 7th December, 2020 elections.
We are of the opinion that, this directive is simply to prevent eligible voters in some specific areas from voting. This obviously is part of a grand agenda set in motion by the EC to achieve a particular objective. One of the strong argument put forth by the EC for compiling a new voter’s register was to remove foreigners from our voters register. The EC claimed that the presence of foreigners on our voters register makes it an ECOWAS register hence the need to make it a Ghanaian register.
For this reason military officers were deployed to the Volta Region and other border regions to prevent Ghanaians returning from neighboring countries from coming home. It is therefore unacceptable to direct security officers to prevent Ghanaian eligible voters from voting under the guise of preventing foreigners from participating in our elections.
If what we all saw in the Volta and Bono Regions during the voter registration exercise is anything to go by, then clearly, the EC’s directive or request is just charade and an attempt to militarize the Volta and Bono Regions again to intimidate and scare off eligible voters thus preventing them from participating in the general elections. It may well be a repeat of what occurred in the Volta Region and Bono Region during the registration exercise where the military and national security officers were deployed to intimidate, harass and physically remove eligible voters from the queue stopping them from registering and subsequently voting in the 7th December, elections.
We call on the security officers not to allow themselves to be used as a tool to rig the 2020 general elections. They must know that it is not their responsibility to check the nationality of voter since the current register certifies the eligibility of every voter. We urge the EC to desist from acts that are capable of creating chaos and confusion in the upcoming elections. The EC must know that it is not the responsibility of the Ghana police service to determine who a Ghanaian is or not.
Therefore the directive to the Ghana police to prevent non-Ghanaians from voting is unlawful and therefore should be disregarded.
EC’S DIREGARD FOR THE LAW
Ladies and Gentlemen of the press, The Electoral Commission is mandated by law to provide regulations for the conduct of every public elections hence the promulgation of the C. I. – 91which some portions were amended by C I – 126 and 127 to guide the conduct of the 7th December, 2020 general elections. However, EC’s fragrant disregard for the law is amazing, the law requires that the number of voters verified manually should be separated from the number of voters verified biometrically. On the contrary, the EC is acting unlawfully by not separating these two as the law demands.
Ladies and Gentlemen, by this unlawful act, we are unable to verify the number of voters who will be verified manually and biometrically. This will allow individuals not on the voters register vote without detection creating an avenue for rigging the 7th December, 2020 elections.
The EC has since the appointment of the current commissioners become a den of electoral scammers thriving on lies and deception. This is the first time the Commission is experiencing such dishonest commissioners. Today, it has become so difficult to trust the EC than a camel go through the eye of a needle. When the EC says look right, it will be in your best interest to look left. Our biggest challenge going into an elections is the presence of a referee (EC) that cannot be trusted. We respectfully call on parliament to immediately invite Mrs. Jean Mensa, Chairperson
for the Electoral Commission to explain her actions.
We will like to encourage the general public, voters and all security officers to stay resolute and not panic, for this is trying times that demand an iron will to bell a lion. We urge all voters to move out in your numbers and cast your ballot without any fear of intimidation and choose the next political party and individual you want to lead this country for the next four years. Your choice will determine the change you require.
David kumi Addo
Executive Secretary “CARE” GHANA