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The President, Nana Akufo-Addo has condemned the pockets of violence recorded during the just-ended voter registration exercise but failed to directly address calls on him to sack his Minister for Special Development Initiatives, Mavis Hawa Koomson.
The minister, during the registration exercise, had pulled a gun and shot several times with some of the bullets hitting the home of an elderly and her grandchildren at the ‘Step to Christ’ polling station in Awutu Senya East Constituency, sending them running for their dear lives.
But delivering his 15th national address on Ghana’s fight against COVID-19, only described those incidents as “regrettable,” despite claiming that they were “isolated incidents” within the largely successful exercise.
The shooting by Mr. Koomson occurred during a confrontation between her and supporters of the National Democratic Congress (NDC). She insisted she fired the gunshot in self-defence because she felt threatened, while touring registration centres.
“I’m a Member of Parliament, I need to protect myself. It was at dawn; my police escort had not started work yet. So, that is the modus operandi I engaged in his absence,” she told Accra-based Adom FM.
The gun action at the polling centre sparked chaos with electoral commission officials running for cover and the registration being brought to an end.
Security experts, religious organizations including the Christian Council as well as neutral observers like the National Peace Council. Have called for a resignation or dismissal, however, President Akufo-Addo in a sweeping statement, only said the Police Service must deal decisively with those involved in the violence.
But the President said “By the grace of God, the work of the Electoral Commission, and the effective measures put in place by the government, these prophecies of doom did not materialize. There were, nonetheless, deeply regrettable, isolated incidents of violence, which I condemn unreservedly, and which I expect the Police to deal with without fear or favour, but the exercise was generally peaceful.”
The President further mocked persons who had kicked against the plan to compile a new register.
He said some of them “who swore heaven and earth to resist the compilation of the register at the peril of their lives, ended up registering.”
“There were also those who offered delicate, personal sacrifices in the event of the register, again, ending up registering. And, there were those who claimed that, in the midst of a pandemic, the registration exercise should not be conducted, with some warning of an “explosion” in our case count and very high numbers of deaths, should the exercise go ahead,” Nana Addo added.
Nana Addo, also said he is extremely happy over the ‘orderly and safe’ conduct of the registration contrary to widespread condemnation of the exercise over claims it will lead to a surge in the number of infections and deaths.
“The Electoral Commission has completed the successful compilation of a new register ahead of the conduct of the 2020 general election. On behalf of the people of Ghana, I congratulate warmly, the Chairperson of the Electoral Commission, Ms. Jean Mensa, her two deputies, Dr. Eric Bossman Asare and Mr. Samuel Tetteh and the entire commission for their efficient, safe and transparent nature of the registration exercise”, he said.
On the same issue, the Coalition of Domestic Election Observers (CODEO) has called on the Inspector-General of Police (IGP) to fast track investigations and prosecution of persons who perpetrated the violence.
CODEO further asked the IGP to make available findings of its investigations to the public to foster confidence in the security agencies and to serve as a deterrent to others.
It specifically mentioned incidences that happened at Banda and Dormaa West all in the Bono Region and Awutu Senya East in the Central Region.
It made the call in its preliminary report on the phases 4, 5, and 6 of the just-ended exercise.
“CODEO calls on the Inspector General of Police (IGP) and the Ghana Police Service working with the Attorney General (AG) to act expeditiously to complete all investigations including the violent incidents in Banda which resulted in the death of one young man, as well as the incident in Awutu Senya East in the Central Region and in Dormaa West in the Bono region. Persons found culpable in various criminal breaches of the law should be prosecuted and sanctioned in accordance with the laws of Ghana.”
“CODEO urges the Police administration to share updates of these investigations with the Ghanaian public to foster confidence in the security agencies and to also serves as a deterrent against future incidents of this nature. Failure to enforce the rule of law will erode confidence in the security agencies and the rule of law.”
In Banda, Silas Wulochamey, a 28-year-old man was allegedly stabbed at a registration centre at Banda in the Bono Region.
Reports suggest that he was stabbed at the registration centre following an altercation between some NPP and NDC supporters.
Supporters of the NPP and the NDC clashed in the Bono regional community leading to the death of one person.
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