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There's Nothing Wrong In Busing People to Register- IMANI's Bright Simons Blasts the EC and Military

The nationwide Voters Registration exercise undertaken by Electoral Commission (EC) officially ended on Thursday, August 6. However, a mop-up exercise was scheduled to be done on August 8th and 9th 2020. The exercise started on June 30 and was conducted in six phases in about 33,000 registration centres. It was however met with much criticisms from political parties and other Civil Society Organizations (CSOs).

On 8th August, 2020 Samson Lardi hosted a panel on Joy News' Newsfile. The panel consisted of Bright Simons, the Vice president of IMANI, Dr. Emmanuel Akwetey, the Executive Director of the Institute for Democratic Governance (IDEG) and Dr. Serebour Quaicoe, the Director of Electoral Services of the Electoral Commission (EC). The topic for discussion was on the just ended voter registration exercise: The Good, the bad and the unrepeatable?

"What do you say about the NDC's charge on suppression of votes?" Samson Lardi asked the panel. Dr. Akwetey answered that the NDC's charge should be based on evidence. "The NDC must prove it and the state agencies must also investigate to do their part." he added. The host went on to ask about the press conferences held and video evidence of people being stopped by military with tension here and there. Dr Akwetey once again stated that, such incidences would not have happened at all if there was a good relationship between the EC, the police and the political parties. "However, the presence of the military and the police is very intimidating and was not warranted. They should not have been checking citizenship of residents as alleged by the NDC." he lamented

Bright Simons was asked about his view on the issue of the military and busing as this has been an issue of debate with even the Bono Regional Chairman of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), Kwame Baffoe Abronye AKA Abronye DC, calling for the arrest of the General Secretary of the NDC, Johnson Asiedu Nketia.

Bright Simons was of the view that the issue of the military was completely unneeded. "The military cannot seek to enforce electoral laws. It should be the police at least. This all started when the politcial parties did not take the IPAC agreements seriously. And so, there was complete distrust from the start so the EC had to use the military." he said. "On the issue of busing, there is no law that prevents the busing of people especially in rural areas. There is nothing wong with that. But in the cities, it may raise suspicion and could be a police case; not the military." the IMANI vice president fired. "Furthermore, if there is suspicion, there shouldn't be physical barriers to stop people based on these mere suspicions. There are procedures which must be followed! And only the police must be allowed to act" he concluded

The assessment of busing and the military is directly in contradiction to the EC, the Defense Minister and the Abronye DC's stance. What is your view?

Do you agree with Bright Simons that busing should not be an issue in Rural areas and in some circumstances in the cities? Or you agree with the stance of Abronye DC to arrest people like Asiedu Nketia for busing and encouraging the Military to capture such persons? Comment your thoughts on this below:

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Bright Simons EC Emmanuel Akwetey IMANI Samson Lardi

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