The Volta caucus of the minority in parliament has given a 24-hour ultimatum to government to withdraw the military personnel deployed to the Volta Region ahead of Tuesday’s nationwide voter registration exercise.
Condemning the military deployment, leader of the caucaus, Emmanuel K. Bedzrah at a news conference in Aflao Monday said the fact that they are peace-loving people does not mean they are cowards.
He thus demanded the immediate removal of military personnel from the area.
“The fire has been lit and we the Voltarians are ready. We are not cowards, we don’t fear people, we only respect and therefore whoever has deployed the military personnel to our borders should call them back immediately,” he demanded.
“We are giving them up to the end of tomorrow, Tuesday; the military personnel must be recalled to their barracks,” he added.
According to the minority caucus, there is no war between Ghana and Togo to warrant the level of military deployment to the area which is the National Democratic Congress’ electoral stronghold.
He said Ghanaians and Togolese will continue to coesist as “there is no war between Ghanaians and Togolese,” adding “We are peace loving people”.
Armed military personnel have since last week been deployed to the area, raising concerns among the people in the area who claim the military is there to intimidate them from taking part in the voter registration exercise which begins from Tuesday, June 30.
There have been conflicting statements regarding the actual motive behind the deployment.
Municipal Chief Executive of Ketu South, Elliot Edem Agbenorwu has justified the military presence in the area, claiming the security personnel are there to help fight Covid-19 by patrolling the unapproved routes being used by people to enter the country.
Adansi Asokwa Member of Parliament K. T. Hammond had also claimed last week that the deployment is to check foreigners from Togo from entering Ghana to register in the planned voter registration exercise.
But that appears not to have calmed residents who have been agitating over the government action.
In a statement to comment on the ragging issue Monday, former President John Rawlings who hails from the Volta Region said the deployment of military to the two regions has not only generated “animosity” but also created “so much suspicion”.
“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,” Mr Rawlings said.
He said it is “generating animosity especially amongst innocent citizens whose basic way of life is being disrupted.
Fairness and justice required
In his view, the Covid-19 restrictions have created enough difficulties for most citizens hence there is no need “to make it worse with overbearing and intimidating behaviour towards our border dwellers whose livelihood solely depend on activities along the border”.