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Voters registration: 6 constituencies that recorded cases of violence, intimidation and suppression

The Electoral Commission, per its mandate, has concluded the compilation of the new voters register which will be used for the conduct of the December 7 general election.

Prior to and during the exercise, Ghanaians were witnesses to some incidents of violence, intimidation and in some cases voter suppression by some individuals who were either affiliated to the state or to the two main political parties, the ruling NPP and opposition NDC.

These cases were widely condemned by Ghanaians who with interest, called on the president to act to avoid a possible spillover ahead of the December polls.

After a rather long silence and initial denial, the president has condemned such acts and referred cases to the security agencies.

GhanaWeb brings you a compilation of some registration centres that recorded violence in the exercise;

AWUTU SENYA EAST CONSTITUENCY

A number of violent clashes were recorded in the Awutu Senya East constituency but most paramount of them all was one which involved a sitting Minister who also doubles as the Member of Parliament for the area.

In a heated argument at one of the registration centres in the constituencies, some gunshots were fired and at least one person reported injured.

The situation caused EC officials to halt the process as they worked to find amicable solutions to the discrepancies. Subsequent to that, in a live radio interview, Mavis Hawa Koomson, Member of Parliament for the constituency claimed responsibility for some of the gunshots.

She said, “The lives of my people were in danger when the guys on motorbikes came to the registration centre so I fired warning shots but I didn’t direct it to anyone.”

At least five people have been arrested and arraigned thereafter but the Minister after public backlash still walks free and holds her position.

DORMAA WEST CONSTITUENCY

The Electoral Commission would have maintained a relatively ‘clean sheet’ at the Dormaa West Constituency but for the violence that erupted during the mop-up exercise.

This was typically a clash between some supporters of the arch-rivals, the ruling NPP and the opposition NDC which consequently left one person dead.

The violence was even captured under international headlines. According to a report filed by BBC, the fight broke out in the area when some officials from the NDC accused the NPP of blocking them from actively participating in the mop-up exercise. In videos that circulated in this regard, at least one vehicle and a motorbike were burnt into ashes.

One person was also shot dead in the process.

BANDA CONSTITUENCY

Cases of violence recorded in Banda were not vastly different from those recorded in other constituencies across the country. A 28-year-old fresh Teacher Trainee graduate, Silas Wulochamey was stabbed to death in the process after allegedly coming into contact with some party thugs believed to be affiliates of the ruling party.

The case has been taken up by the Bono Regional Police Command but not much has been heard of thereafter.

That wasn’t the only case, in Banda-Ahenkro, a number of videos emerged which suggested voter suppression and intimidation of prospective registrants by some armed military personnel.

Per the content of the video, some of the heavily armed military officers were in the act of inspecting, interrogating and instructing prospective registrants at a centre.

These cases were heavily castigated but as per usual, swept under the carpet.

KETU SOUTH CONSTITUENCY

Discordance in the Ketu South enclave prior to the commencement of the registration process was largely described as the genesis of all cases of violence, intimidation and voter suppression.

This began after some residents raised concerns about the spontaneous presence of military men in the constituency.

In an attempt to defend the deployment, Adansi Asokwa MP, KT Hammond intimated that “There is a classic example”, he recalled. “You remember 2008, the second round; we had so much – 100,000 or so votes leading Prof Mills at the time of the second round. In the next round, one constituency, Ketu South, cleared all the [votes] we had. Where did they come from?…You see, so, everybody from wherever they came to vote, so, this is what the whole thing is about; 35,000 people at the time voted; the next one, everybody on earth voted there; where were they coming from?”

Residents also alleged cases of brutality as armed personnel consistently questioned their nationality. As a matter of fact, when the registration exercise began, some security officials stormed the homes of some residents to search, question or demand proof of their nationality.

These later became specific cases of reference for other opposition parties to score political points.

But government dispelled such accusation when the Defence Minister, Dominic Nitiwul indicated that the deployment of soldiers to border towns around the country will be in place for three months and not particularly for the registration exercise.

After the exercise about 133 registrants had their applications challenged.

ASUTIFI SOUTH CONSTITUENCY

Unlike the Awutu Senya constituency where the Member of Parliament launched an attack on people she claimed had marred the registration process, In Asutifi South, the Member of Parliament was rather attacked with pepper spray.

Alhaji Collins Dauda was attacked with pepper spray at a registration centre stationed at the Methodist Primary School in Acherensua while touring to monitor the registration process.

Though the incident received the attention it deserved, not much was heard of thereafter. The process in the constituency largely returned to normalcy after the said incident.

ASAWASE CONSTITUENCY

The Asawase Constituency has made news headlines in most part of the registration process after both NPP and NDC accused each other of busing non-residents to register in the constituency.

As a result, the eligibility of over a thousand registrants in the area was challenged as some party officials either claimed they were not residents or Ghanaians.

In one such incident in the constituency, a man involved in a quarrel pulled out a gun at a registration centre.

This happened after the Member of Parliament for the area, Muntaka Mubarak stationed his bodyguard at a registration centre to monitor the process.

The move which was fiercely resisted by other party faithful caused one of the aggrieved to pull a gun on Mubarak’s bodyguard, threatening to shoot him if he did not leave the centre.

Source: www.ghanaweb.com

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