The Minority in Parliament has urged the Ghana Armed Forces and the Ghana Police Service to remain neutral and guard against being drawn into partisan politics as the country prepares for the 2020 general election.
It said the practice where political party operatives, especially those from the ruling government, used the two state security agencies to pursue their political agendas was counter-productive.
Addressing journalists in Parliament yesterday, the Minority Leader, Mr Haruna Iddrisu, urged the Commands of the two security institutions to immediately stop their men from entering homes in the Volta Region to ascertain the citizenship of some individuals, describing such harassments and intimidations as unacceptable.
“Our caution to the Ghana Police Service and the Ghana Armed Forces is that they should stay neutral as state institutions and work to secure the peace, stability and security of our country,” he said.
Mr Iddrisu said partisan politics was not the calling of the two security agencies and it would not be in their interest to allow themselves to be used for that purpose.
“They have no authority under any law to ask any persons questions if they are citizens. The voters registration process is governed by law and if you have cause to question any person of his citizenship, do so rightfully in accordance with the law, not with the intimidation of a gun or a weapon,” he stated.
‘Don’t descend low’
Mr Iddrisu said the Minority had received reports from across the country of combined military/police teams playing some roles in the registration exercise.
What remained even more shameful , he alleged, was that the soldiers had been entering some houses and asking the people questions bordering on individuals’ citizenships.
That, he said, was not acceptable under the Ghanaian law and pointed out that the National Democratic Congress (NDC) would not sit aloof for the security personnel to continue to intimidate and harass its supporters and innocent Ghanaian citizens to aid the government in its quest to achieve voter suppression.
“Therefore, my advice to the Ghana Armed Force and the Ghana Police Service is that your role is defined by law; if there is any question of eligibility, the law provides what to do and it is not for you to descend that low into the arena of partisan politics and be entering homes and asking people in the Volta Region questions.
“That will be a very dangerous thing to do for the future integrity of the Armed Forces and the Police Services as state institutions; we do not want them to reduce those important state institutions which are at the heart of the security and peace of our country as if they were an appendage of the ruling government,” he stated.
In a reaction, the Deputy Minister of Defence, Major Derek Oduro (Retd), described the Minority’s allegations as untrue.
“The military has never taken sides in any political endeavour and has not been entering people’s homes in the Volta Region,” he said
He questioned: “If yesterday they did not take sides, why should they take sides today?”
Major Oduro stated that since soldiers were deployed at Ghana’s borders in 2019 nobody, including the Minority, had ever complained.
He recalled that last year a Ranking Member of the Committee on Foreign Affairs, Mr Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, requested the Minister of the Interior to brief Parliament on steps he had taken to ensure that terrorists would not attack Ghana like neighbouring countries.
“The Interior Minister came here and said that troops had been deployed at the borders since 2019 and why should the Minority now complain that soldiers had been deployed at the borders?” he quizzed.
He pointed out that when the borders were closed, the military were dispatched there to assist immigration personnel to stop the spread of COVID-19 from Togo, Burkina Faso, and Ivory Coast and yet the Minority did not complain.