Military Invades Ellembelle, Intimidating Residents- MP gets worried

The Member of Parliament (MP) for Ellembelle, Hon. Emmanuel Armah-Kofi Buah has given the Ghana Armed Forces a 24 -hour ultimatum to recall the heavy military presence in the Ellembelle constituency.

According to him (the MP) the heavy presence of the military are intimating valnerable citizens in the constituency.

The Lawmaker indicated that a contingent of unapproved military men have invaded the Ellembelle District in the Western Region and intimidating residents who queued at the Voter registration centres.

The lawmaker raised the alarm on Thursday morning by disclosing it to the media in parliament.

According to him, the Minister for Defence, Dominic Nitiwul has denied knowledge of the presence of the military in the Ellembele town.

The deadly looking macho men in military uniform similar to those who caused chaos in the Ayawaso West Woguon bye election last year, are moving around in the District Assembly branded vehicles.

The MP said Ellembelle is not a border town and the military could not have been in the town to ensure foreigners do not enter the country to register as earlier claimed by the Defence Minister.

The military, he noted have been in the town for the past three days and targeted at the Northern enclave of the District, especially places perceived to be strong hold of the opposition NDC.

Hon. Buah said when the Military men were questioned they claimed their presence is to ensure law and order in respect of the COVID-19 social distance.

Nevertheless, the former Minister for Petroleum, condemned the action, describing it’s as ” illegal and an upfront to democratic process of the country.”

He however called on the Minister for Defence and the Military command to with immediate effect withdraw their men from the Ellembele town.

He further threatened to use all legitimate means to get them out should they failed or refused to leave within 24 hours.

Meanwhile the Ellembelle constituency chapter of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) has issued a press statement had also condemned the activities of the military men present in the constituency.

BELOW IS THE FULL PRESS RELEASE:

PRESS RELEASE
9th July, 2020

NATIONAL DEMOCRATIC CONGRESS
ELLEMBELLE COMMUNICATION SECRETARIAT

HEAVY DEPLOYMENT OF MILITARY FORCES IN THE ELLEMBELLE DISTRICT BY GOVERNMENT UNCONSCIONABLE

Our attention has been drawn to the unexplained deployment of a military contingent in the the Ellembelle district especially Aiyinase North communities in the Northern part of our district.
This contingent is purported to be “monitoring” the voter registration exercise.

We know that the recent deployment of security forces was done along the country’s borders and is supposed to either prevent foreigners from entering the country to take part in the registration exercise.

We find the military deployment very strange because Ellembelle is not situated on the border and there is no risk of foreigners infiltrating the community to register illegally.
Besides, there is no other imminent security risk that requires the intervention by military forces.

Since police personnel have already taken positions and are monitoring the exercise, as they do in every elections, we believe this deployment is only designed to intimidate the residents and potential voters in the area and our reasons are very well grounded.

First, Aiyinase North whete majority of the military are deployed has always been the stronghold of the NDC. This is not by coincidence. Indeed, it is just a show of gratitude by the people in that community, for the joint effort by former President John Mahama and Hon Armah-Kofi Buah M.P for Ellembelle Constituency to open up and develop what used to be an isolated and deprived part of the constituency.

Secondly, we suspect that the rationale behind the military deployment is not to maintain peace or security but to intimidate citizens and prevent them from exercising their constitutional right to register and vote.

The following are reasons for our Aiyinase North ;

The DCE of Ellembelle, Hon Kwasi Bonzo doubles as the parliamentary candidate for the NPP. He lost the contest to the NDC candidate in 2016 and he attributed his loss to the voting pattern in Aiyinase North.

As a contestant in the December elections, he has the zeal to win at all cost and he believed the only way to do so is to limit the number of voters to be cast in that community. By so doing, he hopes to slim down the chance of winning.

Since Aiyinase North has no history of civil electoral violence and therefore no potential conflict to be prevented, we believe the deployment has only one objective. That objective is to create fear and panic in the local community and dampen the will of the residents to register in their numbers.

This unannounced deployment has created a very desperate and worrying situation for both adults and children in the district especially, the Aiyinase North community. Majority of the residents are farmers, who earn their living by having to attend to their farms everyday. In the few days, they have abstained from going to their farms because of the uncertainty about why they are suddenly being watched over by intrusive armed soldiers. Even children refusing to go to school out of fear for the unknown.

The consequences for this deployment could therefore affect the entire community. The restrictions on farming and other economic activities emanating from the residents self-imposed lockdown, could soon lead to food shortages and price hikes that would only exacerbate the hardship they face in their daily lives.

We are by this statement calling on government to immediately withdraw the military contingent, since we believe presence in the community is unnecessary potentially dangerous.
We also call on the Ghana Arm forces high command to immediately look into this matter and withdraw the soldiers

The constitution guarantees free, fair, and transparent and peaceful elections. That is all we are asking for.

God bless the NDC, God bless Ghana
Thank you.

Signed
KWESI HANSON
COMMUNICATION OFFICER
ELLEMBELLE

Source: wwww.thenewindependentonline.com/ Delali Gavor/ Parliament

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