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Gov’t accused of manipulating EC ahead of referendum

The Electoral Commission released the sample ballots for the referendum

 A group calling itself One Volta Group in the Volta region has accused the government of scheming to manipulate the Electoral Commission in the region ahead of the December 27 referendum.

The group has also raised concerns about the purported manhandling of some  people whom they said are perceived to be against the creation of the proposed Oti region.

Members of the group are worried that if care is not taken in the processes leading to the creation of the new region, it could compromise the peace in the region.

In a statement issued Tuesday, December 18, titled “THE INTIMIDATION AND TERRORIZING OF OPPONENTS OF PROPOSED OTI REGION ARE UNACCEPTABLE AND MUST BE CONDEMNED”, the One Volta group alleged there is a scheme to transfer some EC officers.

“One Volta Group has been hinted by very reliable sources that the Government, in actualizing its biased posture, through its primary agent- the Electoral Commission – is purging the institution of employees perceived to be sympathetic to the “No” side of the campaign.

“We are hereby registering our outrage, displeasure and condemnation of the Electoral commission’s actions and therefore calling on the institution to rescind its planned transfer of an employee at its Nkwata South offices”, the group alleged.

They maintained the move does not augur well for Ghana saying, “the tired and discriminatory use of transfer as an intimidating and punitive measure in Ghana must stop.”

The group also cautioned the people within the region to be mindful of the fact that they are one people and will continue to be regardless the outcome of the referendum.

“In any regard, regardless of whichever side prevails after this historic vote, it must be reiterated that, whether you live in Northern Volta or Southern Volta, we would continue to be one people living adjacent to one another”, the group cautions.

Background

President Akufo-Addo. on assuming office received petitions from some chiefs and opinion leaders for the creation of new regions.

The President upon receipt of the petitions referred them to the Council of State for their input. After a thorough examination, the council noted that there was a substantial demand for the creation of new regions.

The Justice Brobbey Commission was constituted, in accordance with the Constitution, to probe the petitions further, which the commission did.

Among the recommendations was the need for the Electoral Commission to organize a referendum for the affected people in the affected areas.

Find full statement of the One Volta Group below:

THE INTIMIDATION AND TERRORIZING OF OPPONENTS OF PROPOSED OTI REGION ARE UNACCEPTABLE AND MUST BE CONDEMNED

It has come to the notice of One Volta Group that as the day of the referendum draws near, the proponents of the Oti region have revved up that stakes and in their determination to prevail at all cost have resorted to all kinds of underhanded and objectionable tactics to malign, terrorize and intimidate those who they perceive to be opponents of the proposed new region.

Read more about One Volta Group here.

It must be stated forcefully, unambiguously and in no uncertain terms that, we at the One Volta project, totally reject and condemn these criminal attempts to silence dissension and will resist them with all lawful means and resources available to us. We, as Ghanaians, will not cede our right to exercise our franchise to a misinformed portion of the population who use intimidation to mute dissent.

We are not cowards and we will make this clear on the day of the referendum when we cast our votes.

The right to hold differing opinions in society is protected by the constitution of Ghana and we will not sit unconcerned for ignorant people to begin trampling on the rights of their fellow citizens only because they hold alternative views.

We are all citizens of Ghana and have the right to duly exercise our franchise when called upon and this is exactly what we intend to do regardless of the obstacles deliberately placed in our paths.

At this juncture, it is crucially important to bring to the public’s attention a few disturbing developments that are rearing their ugly heads as the day of the referendum rapidly approaches. There is ample information reaching us at Volta One group and culled from very dependable sources that there is a hatched plan to closely monitor those who’ll be voting “No” at the polls and to physically attack them after the vote.

This unssailable information has come to our notice and we are hereby warning the potential perpetrators of these illegal operations to desist before they are exposed and dealt with by the law or by other means available to us.

Also, in a separate development, we have seen pictures of a supporter of One Volta Group caught and being maltreated and humiliated by a leader of a local vigilante group sympathetic to the proponents of the proposed Oti Region.

It goes without saying that all well-meaning Ghanaians must condemn these lawless acts and we’ll seize this opportunity to call on law enforcement to do its job and protect all citizens of the land.

These gangs must be disbanded forthwith before a rival group is founded for the purposes of revenge and   retribution. We’ll like to think that Ghana is a country of laws and it is expected that all citizens would abide by them.

The ability to take the law into our own hands is not the sole prerogative of the proponents of Oti region. They must be minded that “two can play that game” (title of a movie).

Tit for tit evens out the playing field for reasons of mutual respect and we can all reserve the right to activate that philosophy if need be.

However, it must be clearly stated here, without any equivocation whatsoever that, we at One Volta Group are committed to a peaceful referendum and in the same vein are we respectfully appealing to the other side to equally heed this call so that, as in a game guided by good sportsmanship, we would all experience an orderly and lawful exercise on the 27th of December.

Meanwhile, in relation to another fast-developing story, One Volta Group has been hinted by very reliable sources that the Government, in actualizing its biased posture, through its primary agent- the Electoral Commission – is purging the institution of employees perceived to be sympathetic to the “No” side of the campaign.

We are hereby registering our outrage, displeasure and condemnation of the Electoral commission’s actions and therefore calling on the institution to rescind its planned transfer of an employee at its Nkwata South  offices. The tired and discriminatory use of transfer as an intimidating and punitive measure in Ghana must stop. This shameful policy belongs to an archaic epoch and has no place in 21st century Ghana.

The referendum to determine a new region is a matter for the people of Volta Region alone to decide and in principle, should have no Government involvement, no matter how veiled, to skew the verdict in either direction.

Finally, it is important to emphasize here that the appeal for a peaceful process must apply to the days prior, and immediately after the referendum because presently, there is enough evidence already on the ground to indicate that things are getting really ugly. Let us all be very careful with our actions and again be reminded that nobody is above the law.

A peaceful referendum is not an option but is the only way since any other route would spell disaster for the process and for all Voltarians because, inadvertently, it could mark the genesis of the disintegration of societal cohesion heretofore enjoyed by all inhabitants of the region who are known to have peacefully coexisted  since time immemorial.

As Voltarians, we must resist all sentiments of division, separation and retrogression which unfortunately, it appears, are very much associated with this referendum.

This is clearly in evidence as this exercise has unveiled a very ugly side Voltarians are not usually known for.

In any regard, regardless of whichever side prevails after this historic vote, it must be reiterated that, whether you live in Northern Volta or Southern Volta, we would continue to be one people living adjacent to one another.

So therefore, we must not allow the incidence of a referendum to open a ghastly wound we would be unable to heal post-referendum. This reality and realisation necessitate a cautious approach from all and sundry involved this exercise. Let us all be mindful of this stark reality that we are stuck with each other long term.

We are all brothers and sisters of Volta Region and as in any civilised society, we must aspire towards better ideals and laudable actions that would leave an enduring and indelible mark for posterity.

Let it be said by our children that there was once a referendum in the Volta Region and it was peaceful after which the inhabitants remained one and united. Let this be said about us.

HAIL ONE VOLTA!!

Ernesto  (for One Volta Group)

By 3news.com|Ghana

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