Over 100 police officers armed with riot gears and guns have been deployed to Chereponi in the Northern Region to force-start the limited re-registration exercise in the area after the paramount chief summoned the electoral commission’s local staff and blocked the exercise in the district.
The deployment followed a District Security Council emergency meeting Sunday morning after Chief Maliba Jamehja Kofi prevented the commission from conducting the national exercise in the district capital.
The exercise is been conducted across some affected regions ahead of a disputed upcoming referendum for creation of more regions
Out of six new regions to be added to the exiting ten, two regions would be split out from the Northern Region.
Six districts; Bole/Bamboi, Sawla Tuna/Kalba, West Gonja, Central and East Gonja and Kpandai will make up the Savanna Region as requested by the Overlord and people of the Gonjaland Traditional Area.
The Mamprugu Moiduri, West Mamprusi, East Mamprusi, Bunkprugu and Yunyoo will form the North East Region as requested by the Naa yili and people of Mamprugu Traditional Area.
However, when the Regional Reorganization ministry released a proposed map for the two regions, it added Kpandai, a Gonjaland district, to districts in Dagbon and moved Chereponi, an Eastern Dagbon district into the Mamprugu region.
While the Gonjas have failed to protest the exclusion of Kpandai from the Savanna Region, the Regent of Dagbon, who had vowed not to allow an inch of Dagbon land to be added onto either proposed regions, has reportedly set out grand designs to resist the addition of Chereponi onto the North East Region.
The Kampakuyana and Acting Dagbon Traditional Council President vowed to protect the territorial integrity of Dagbon lands and scuttled the proposal for an Eastern Corridor Region, which will have split Dagbon into Western and Eastern, and separated almost a million Dagombas .
The re-registration exercise seeks to among other things boost voter turnout in the area where the referendum will be held in the next two months and to provide limited opportunity for first time voters.
In the Northern Region, a director of the Electoral Commission, Mr. Emmanuel Abeam Danso told Starr News the exercise was going on in 11 districts and will run for ten days before extended across the region.
But, on Saturday night, the chief of Chereponi summoned electoral commission officers in the district to his palace and warned them he would not allow the exercise to be conducted in the district.
He sent emissaries next day, Sunday, Sep. 16, when the exercise was scheduled to start nationwide especially in three regions, to follow up with threat to the lives of the officers if they disobey his order.
The chief’s action, according to his secretary, was to protest the addition of Chereponi to the proposed North East Region.
The Secretary said the people of Chereponi already pay allegiance to the Yaa Naa and so do not want to be part of the North East Region, which he claims would shift their loyalty to the Naa yili and overlord of Mamprugu.
The commission was forced to close their office and halt the process in the district and after a long deadlock, the district security council chaired by the District Chief Executive, Tahidu Abdul Razak, scrambled into an emergency meeting.
The Yendi police commander, Chief Superintendent Kofi Ayerizen said the exercise will resume tomorrow despite the chief’s stiff resistance.
He said armed police force from neighboring Saboba have been instructed to join their counterparts in Chereponi to ensure resumption of the exercise.
Kofi Ayerizen explained that the officers will protect local EC staff during the exercise.
The military has a command in Yendi but the police commander would not confirm or deny whether the military will be part of the operation.