A member of the main opposition National Democratic Congress’ communication team, Awo Kekeli, has said she does not believe the soldiers deployed to some polling stations during the 7 December 2020 general elections, were real military personnel from the Ghana Armed Forces.
Her comment comes a day after former President John Mahama said the military presence at the polling stations compelled the Electoral Commission to declare the results in favour of President Nana Akufo-Addo and the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP).
The 2020 flag bearer of the main opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) told Global FM in Ho, Volta Region, during his Thank You tour that: “But for a lot of scheming that took place, the NDC would have won the election”.
“I do believe that we did win but a lot of things went untoward and so even though power did not come into our hands, it does not mean we do not have the prospects of winning”, he said. According to him, “we won the majority in parliament but you saw what happened on the day: many of the polling centres injected soldiers and forced the electoral officers to pronounce results that were not real.”
During the same interview, Mr Mahama said the violence that erupted during the Ayawaso West Wuogon by-election on 31 January 2019 and was described by some leaders of the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP) as a “dress rehearsal” for the 2020 polls, is what led to the death of eight people during last year’s presidential and parliamentary elections.
He said the Akufo-Addo government has warped democracy so much that it is trickling down to the local level.
“I was looking at something this morning [about the] Municipal Chief Executive [nominee] for Cape Coast, and they said 77 votes out of 63 [were cast]. The people there assembled were 63 and then somebody was saying that some people took some of the ballot papers and run away with them. I mean, what kind of democracy is NPP fostering in this country?” Mr Mahama wondered.
He observed: “And when you listen to people like Lord Commey and things, it’s about power. It’s not about the welfare of the people. It’s not about the will of the people”.
Mr Mahama quoted the Director of Operations at the presidency as having said: ‘If you get power, you shouldn’t hand it over to anybody’.
“What do you mean by that? It’s the sovereign will of the people who elect you to serve but when arrogance of power sets in, then you hear people speak so carelessly, recklessly”, Mr Mahama noted, adding: “I think it’s most unfortunate”.
He said: “If you listen to some of them [NPP people], the arrogance of power has got to them and he [Lord Commey] was quoting the president. He said the president says: ‘He’s going to hand over to an NPP president’”.
“It’s not your will”, Mr Mahama pointed out, explaining: “It is God’s will and the will of the Ghanaian people”.
“Whoever wins the election, you must hand over”, recalling: “Kufuor handed over to Mills. I handed over to you, Nana Akufo-Addo”.
“I could have made my mind that I wanted to hand over to an NDC [person] but it is the will of the people”, Mr Mahama added.
“If the people decide, you must agree and the point is – I don’t know where he’s coming from – but I mean statements like this are reckless and I think that when they make them, the president is happy with them and, so, he pats them on the back”.
“Look at what happened in Ayawaso West Wuogon and a whole deputy general secretary of their party says: ‘Oh, Ayawaso West Wuogon was a dress rehearsal’ and the dress rehearsal turned into eight people dying because of impunity”.
“You just fire and kill people and then after that Ejura, look at what happened”, he mentioned.
“And all these things, these people get away with it – all these masked people in all those kinds of uniforms and clothes and things – they don’t get punished for what they do and, so, where will the next incident be and won’t they pull the triggers again because they are not being punished for what they do and, so, impunity sets in and that’s what’s happening. And, so, it’s unfortunate that comments like these are made but they reflect the comments of the leader”.
“When you say: ‘All die be die’, then you’ll have people like Lord Commey come and say reckless things like this. What he said was against our Constitution; ‘He won’t hand over power’. How can you not hand over power?”
Commenting on Mr Mahama’s remarks, Awo Kekeli wondered: “Were they truly military from the Ghana Armed Forces or the hooligans who caused the Ayawaso West Wuogon by-election mayhem who had been put in military uniform?”
She told Nana Yaw Adwenpa on CTV’s morning show Dwabremu on Tuesday, 19 October 2021 that: “We saw what happened at a court in Kumasi as well as in the Ayawaso West Wuogon by-election but nothing happened”.
“If they were really military personnel, then it is unfortunate”, she condemned, adding: “But for me, I doubt. I doubt they were real military personnel because even our military wouldn’t shoot the way these uniformed men did because they are supposed to protect us from outside attack and not hurt us from within”.
She observed: “I know personnel from the prisons, customs, immigration and police services are those who normally get deployed to maintain law and order during elections”.
“But, for the first time, these are the kinds of things we are seeing in this country. This use of military force was never even seen during the military regime but these are the kinds of things we see under a human rights activist and lawyer who is now at the helm of the presidency”, she stressed.