The New Patriotic Party (NPP has urged the National Democratic Congress (NDC) to stop the deliberate attempt to confuse genuine efforts to secure the country’s borders to mean that the NPP was preventing Ghanaians from taking part in the ongoing voters registration exercise.
At a press conference addressed by the national chairman of the NPP, Mr Freddie Wosemewu Blay, the NPP wondered why the NDC would resort to undermining the simple, civil and peaceful exercise of voter registration into one of ethnocentrism through outright fabrications,
needless exaggerations and old-fashioned fear-mongering and propaganda tactics.
The NDC says it had gathered hardcore evidence to back the growing reports of ethnic discrimination and physical attacks on innocent people of certain tribes by some military personnel and some members of the NPP.
Mr Blay described the NDC claims as a dangerous ethnocentric agenda to advance a hate-for-votes campaign to win the 2020 polls.
He wondered how the NDC’s flagbearer, Mr John Mahama could accuse President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo of ethnic discrimination when only last week, the President was in the Northern and Savannah Regions to ensure that 1.2 million people had access to water, including Mr Mahama’s own maternal hometown.
He described as false, claims that people from the Volta Region had been disenfranchised.
According to him, at the end of Phase 5 of the registration exercise, 816,069 people had registered in the Volta Region alone as against the 2019 regional voters register of 999,368.
“Indeed, on a national average, registration in Volta Region, particularly in Ketu South, has been among the highest in the country.”
Mr Blay urged Ghanaians to help prevent non-Ghanaians from participating in the ongoing voter registration, adding that elections in Ghana were for Ghanaians and not for other nationals.
“We love all our brothers and sisters of West Africa, but they cannot vote in our elections as we cannot vote in theirs. Please, respect our hard-won sovereignty as we respect yours. This is all we are saying”, he added.
Mr Blay said the military was deployed months ago to patrol all the borders for a variety of security-related reasons and explained that those along the northern borders were greater than the south east, where there were no complaints.
Below is the full address by Mr. Blay.
PRESS CONFERENCE BY THE NEW PATRIOTIC PARTY (NPP) ON NDC’S DANGEROUS ETHNOCENTRIC AGENDA. DATE: 4TH AUGUST, 2020. VENUE: ALISA HOTEL.
Distinguished Ladies and gentlemen of the media, Fellow Ghanaians! We thank you for making the time to join us on this Founders’ Day morning for this press conference.
Today, we commemorate our founding heroes and celebrate all the virtues they represented and sacrificed for. As we salute the heroes of our nation, we must, in turn, remind ourselves of the role we can play as heroes in our own time, standing on the shoulders of the giants of yesteryear. As long as we live and breathe, Ghana, our beloved country is a living, breathing organism, and we are all a piece of it, and are responsible for keeping her alive.
Unfortunately however, our brothers and sisters of the NDC are desperately trying to undermine the simple, civil and peaceful exercise of voter registration into one of ethnocentrism through outright fabrications, needless exaggerations and old-fashioned fear-mongering and propaganda tactics.
It has not all been smooth. The Electoral Commission (EC), the arbiter with sole authority to determine elections has had to prove its mettle over and over again. This time, the EC was challenged by its decision to have a brand new voter register for the conduct of the 2020 General Elections.
Against the EC argument that the equipment holding the existing register was obsolete and the data unreliable, the NDC mounted an incredibly virulent yearlong campaign of demonstrations, press conferences, and boycotts of IPAC. They threatened brimstone and fire. Thankfully, these NDC protest-preneurs and their so-called militant allies in their red berets soon discovered that they couldn’t fool Ghanaians to follow them in these pointless marches, which had in fact turned into a nice cottage industry for the organizers. Even the majority of their own NDC members refused to follow them as, thanks to Akufo-Addo, they had jobs to go to.
When they turned and found that no one was following them, they went to the Supreme Court. On June 25, when the Supreme Court ruled unanimously against the NDC’s totally barren case, they tried quickly to “steal the verdict” with Asiedu Nketia, flanked by their battery of presumably knowledgeable lawyers, to claim that the Supreme Court had ruled in their favour.
When their claims of being in a comfortable lead fell flat, they raised the spectre of corona virus and swore that the registration exercise would fail. One member even publicly offered to be castrated as living sacrifice for the party if the exercise succeeded. Well, the EC is in the final phase of the registration exercise and we shall leave the commission to make public its final report for all Ghanaians to draw their own judgment in due time. Suffice it to say that the gentleman who promised self-castration in honour of his beloved NDC has since gone to register; we saw photographs of him sitting quietly but proudly to have his photograph taken at a well-organized registration centre. We thank God that he has not wasted his ability to bear children. Insha Allah, his children will grow up, enjoy free SHS, read the history of the 2020 registration exercise and promptly join the NPP!
Ladies and Gentlemen, now, the NDC, having failed at every turn, have decided to introduce and pursue an agenda of what they claim to be ethnic disenfranchisement as their last card. We are calling on the people of the Volta Region and indeed on all Ghanaians to stand up against being used as political pawns in this dangerous political game by a desperate John Mahama. Mahama showed very little concern for the people of the Volta Region when he had the opportunity as president to impact on the lives of the people. John Mahama cannot be trusted and we say so by his own record and not just his dangerous words.
Ever since the NDC flagbearer visited the Volta Region, starting with Aflao in Ketu South on Saturday 11th July, (a trip which took him to Akatsi South, Ketu North, South Tongu and Ho), we have observed with shock and dismay as the NDC suddenly changed course to spread falsehood that the Akufo-Addo government was pushing an anti-Ewe agenda to disenfranchise people from the Volta Region.
We have had instances of tense party political intrigues throughout the Fourth Republic, but nothing quite like what John Mahama is trying to unleash today simply because his record as President is desperately poor, and he has no message. In 2016, his campaign message was “E dey be k3k3!” Akufo-Addo, on the other hand, proposed a raft of policy measures including but not limited to Free SHS, and he’s delivering! How did he expect to win simply by twisting his mouth and shouting E dey Be K3k3. And this was after he had been in office for eight years as Vice-President and President! What did he take Ghanaians for?
Well, for some strange reason that completely baffles the majority of Ghanaians, the NDC is presenting John Mahama again, and yet again he has no message. He has absolutely nothing to offer.
In his latest hate-for-votes campaign, John Mahama accused the military falsely of disallowing “our brothers and sisters in the Volta Region and wherever there are settlements of Voltarians and non-Akans” to register to vote. This is a big and dangerous lie.
The former president of the Republic, who should know better, had earlier said on 28th June that President Akufo-Addo was sending “troops into regions in times of peace for the sole purpose of preventing them from registration,” and that this amounted to “declaring war.” This is very rich coming from a president, who in desperation, after seeing the results were against him, deployed rocket launchers and other heavy artillery across the regions on December 8, 2016. We must not allow his desperation to use hate- for-votes to create needless tension among our peace-loving people.
How could John Mahama accuse President Akufo-Addo of ethnic discrimination when only last week, the President was in the Northern and Savannah Regions to ensure that 1.2 million people there have access to water, including John Mahama’s own maternal hometown? John Mahama has no message because Akufo-Addo is working hard to solve the real-life problems that confront the Ghanaian people.
Does John Mahama know how many families in the Volta Region are benefiting from Free SHS and other social policies that are impacting on families and communities in every corner of this country since 2017? More than 400,000 young people who had qualified to attend SHS would have been denied access if it was not for President Akufo-Addo’s dogged insistence that no child, no matter their ethnic origin or station in life, should be denied secondary education.
As a simple illustration, here are two photographs of the kindergarten in Honuta in the Ho West District of the Volta Region. One was in 2016 under the NDC, and the newly-built one was done by the NPP. Let me state again, that this is in Honuta in the Volta Region. Do not be misled by John Mahama’s hate-for-votes campaign. John Mahama has resorted to this old bogus propaganda trick used by empty and desperate tyrants of decades gone-by because he has no policy response to Akufo-Addo’s social interventions and economic policies.
Ladies and Gentlemen, Akufo-Addo has been instrumental in maintaining peace and tranquility throughout the country, including in Dagbon since he came into office. He will be the last to want to disturb the peace. We must completely and totally reject Mahama’s hate-for-votes campaign and look at the real facts.
Ladies and Gentlemen, Is it true that Voltarians are really being disenfranchised? The facts say NO, they’re not! As at the end of Phase 5 of the registration exercise after 30 days, 816,069 people had registered in the Volta Region alone as against the 2019 regional voters register of 999,368. Indeed, on a national average, registration in Volta Region, particularly, in Ketu South, has been among the highest in the country.
As against the 2019 register, Greater Accra has performed the best across all regions of the country, followed by Upper West, Northern, Central, Savannah (John Mahama’s own region), followed by Bono, Bono East, Western, Volta before Eastern. Where is the discrimination? Are the people of Savannah facing discrimination? What about the Northern Region? Are the Krobos and Ewes in Eastern Region, specifically the Abuakwa areas, complaining about discrimination? Have they not lived there for decades and is that not where Akufo-Addo comes from? Please, let us not allow John Mahama to fool us with his hate-for-votes agenda.
The military were deployed months ago to patrol all our borders for a variety of security-related reasons. The numbers were even greater along our northern borders than the south east. There were no complaints. John Mahama is using this reckless ploy to try to motivate the NDC’s grassroots, cower the security agents from doing their legitimate job so that the NDC can employ foul means to populate the register.
We should not confuse the genuine efforts to police the borders throughout the country to mean that the NPP is against anyone. Elections in Ghana are for Ghanaians. Yet, as we speak, a number of Togolese and Nigerians have either been convicted or have their cases pending at the Keta circuit court charged with registering for a voter ID card.
1. Okafor Wale, age 47 years; nationality, Nigerian.
Offence: Registered for Ghana voter ID card when not qualified to register.
Convicted and Sentenced to 2years in hard labour by Keta Circuit Court on 30/07/20
2. Evoda Yao Dieu Donne, age 22 years, nationality Togolese.
Offence: Registered for Ghana voter ID Card when not qualified to register.
Convicted and sentenced to 2 years in hard labour by Keta Circuit Court on 30/07/20
3. Emmanuel Philip, age 32, nationality Nigerian.
Offence: Register for Ghana Voter ID Card when not qualified.
Case pending before Keta Circuit Court.
4. Jerry Azameti, age 28 years, nationality, Ghanaian; and 5. Abigail Tagbor age 20 years Ghanaian. Offence: the two abetted Emmanuel Philip a Nigerian who is not qualified to register to register for Ghana voter ID Card by standing as guarantors.
Case pending before Keta Circuit Court.
6. Ekoume Sena, age 32 years, Togolese. Offence: Register for Ghana Voter ID Card when not qualified to register. Case pending before Keta Circuit Court.
7. Ametame Raymond, age 33 years,Togolese.
Offence: Register for Ghana voter ID Card when not qualified to register.
Case pending before Keta Circuit Court.
Ladies and gentlemen, we love all our brothers and sisters of West Africa, but they cannot vote in our elections as we cannot vote in theirs. Please, respect our hard-won sovereignty as we respect yours. This is all we are saying.
Ladies and gentlemen, nationwide, 38.02% of people used guarantors to get their names on the register. In Ketu South, the figure is around 55% and rising. So far, Ketu South is among the top 10% of constituencies in meeting the target of the 2019 register. Ketu South registered over 132,000 as against the 2019 figure of 149,219. This is a higher percentage than Manhyia South, New Juaben South, Abuakwa South and Walewale. So what exactly is John Mahama’s problem? Actually, we know John Mahama’s problem. His problem is that they have no message. John Mahama and his NDC have no message. They didn’t have one in 2016 and have none in 2020. Exactly what economic or social problem does “E dey be k3k3” solve? It doesn’t put a single child in school. It doesn’t build a dam. It doesn’t build flyovers at a fraction of John Mahama’s invoices. It doesn’t pay teachers and nurses allowances. It doesn’t plant for food and jobs. It doesn’t keep the bank accounts of 4.5 million Ghanaians open. And it doesn’t open a Volkswagen factory. Ghanaians are much too intelligent to vote for someone whose overall vision for his country is “E Dey Be k3k3!
We want to remind Ghanaians once again that the NDC is trying to misuse social media to distort reality and stir up confusion where there should be none. We call on you the media to shine your eyes and be extremely careful in picking up videos from social media and so-called “news” from dubious news websites deliberately set up to manipulate you and the people. Stop picking up one-sided stories and narratives and magnifying them. Don’t fall for their bait. As professionals, you ought to know that one-sided videos from sources of dubious or purely partisan origin can leave you with eggs on your faces. We believe in your sense of professionalism and encourage you to double and triple-check these videos for the actual back-stories.
For instance, a few days ago when tensions were rife in Banda, the Regional security council (REGSEC) brokered an agreement between the NPP and NDC. The agreement was to the effect that neither party should organise scores of citizens and bus or truck them to registration sites as this creates confusion when challenges ensue. John Mahama’s NDC having signed up to the deal, then openly breached the deal and accused the innocent military men of an ethnic agenda when all sides had agreed that the military should be invited to enforce the deal if any party breached it.
In videos circulating on social media NDC General Secretary Asiedu Nketia could be openly heard whipping up ethnic sentiments against the Military and inciting the residents with misleading claims that the soldiers were there to act against their tribe. Other media reports capture him as leading scores of people to insult and denigrate the military officers with unprintable words. This is irresponsible, dangerous and consistent with the NDC playbook: when you have no credible message, whip up identity sentiments to galvanize your base. This is a shameful strategy.
So we beg of you, do not cut and paste stories from social media. The mainstream media are our trusted news sources. If you become purveyors of fake news, our country would be in trouble. This is our earnest and heartfelt plea to you. In addition, we entreat our fellow Ghanaians to be much more discerning when sharing videos and messages that promote ethnic division among our people.
Ladies and gentlemen, considering what an auspicious day August 4 is to this nation, we wish to conclude by summoning the best in all of us, the kindness in all of us, the wisdom in all of us, the goodness in all of us, the brotherhood and sisterhood in all of us as we proceed towards December.
Our Democracy was hard-won. Democracy is a muscle that we must exercise, lest we lose it, and by doing so we show the world the true strength of Ghana and its people. Every Ghanaian has a God-given right to exercise his/her vote. Nana Akufo-Addo in particular has fought for this and other basic rights for more than 40 years, since he was in his thirties. His belief in the right of every citizen to exercise their fundamental freedoms comes as naturally to him as flying is to the eagle.
In December, Akufo-Addo wants you to look at his record, compare it to that of others. Ask yourself: which President delivered on his promises? Which President do I trust more to recover the economy and care for my livelihood, and have enough left to pay my water and electricity bills and support thousands of small and medium enterprises in the midst of this terrible corona virus pandemic? Some of the enterprises received their loans via mobile money? They needed just a little help to see them through and keep their enterprises afloat and people employed. Who do you trust? Ponder upon these questions and then go out and vote in December according to your conscience and what you believe is best for you and the future of your children. For us in the NPP, questions of ethnicity have no place in our democracy. It has no place in the Ghana that President Akufo-Addo wants to bequeath to our young people.
The Ghana we love, the Ghana of our founders, is one we build together – not one where we tear each other apart. The essence of Ghana is unity, and to be spreading ethnocentric lies, inciting violence and pitting brother against brother for political gain is not just selfish and dangerous – it is un-Ghanaian by its very nature, and such appalling behavior just cannot stand.
As Ghanaians, we all have reason to be proud over having conducted the most successful, transparent and constitutionally sound voters register in the history of our country and having done so in the midst of a global pandemic. Ghanaians across our great country have shown the world what we are made of and we can and should stand as an example of how to preserve and protect democracy in challenging times under the direction of a bold and caring leader.
We, the New Patriotic Party, choose to focus on the things that unite us as one nation, rather than the things that divide us along ethnic lines. For the NDC to be disrespecting the efforts and sacrifice of our people in the middle of this exercise and in such perilous times is unconscionable and an affront to everything we stand for. Therefore, we urge John Mahama and the NDC to stop working so hard to divide us. We must all refuse that perilous invitation to the NDC’s devious dinner in the dark.
This is bigger than politics, bigger than all of us. This is about freedom and democracy, liberty and peace. We are brothers and sisters, children of the black star of Africa, and ethnocentric hatred has no place in this great land.
As it is written in Paul’s letter to the Romans (14:19) “let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification”. We are one people, under God, and though the battle is always the Lord’s we must strive to act and live in his favor. Whether or not the NDC will choose to end its divisive campaign, ours will always be a message of unity and peace.
Candidate Mahama: we believe that there must be a corner somewhere deep inside your heart that remains free of ethnocentric bigotry. We ask of you to kindly enter there. If you listen carefully, you will hear the voices of the men and women who died that we would live; the men and women whose toil, whose legacy, whose spirits, whose souls we honour today the Fourth of August. Please heed their voices. Honour them by finding yourself a proper message; a message that binds and builds. Thank you for coming and God bless our homeland Ghana.