29 November 2012

Ghana: IGP Dialogues With NPP - Over Security Matters Ahead of Dec. Seven Polls

The Inspector General of Police (IGP), Paul Tawiah Quaye, together with some senior officers in black uniform have held a closed door meeting with the opposition New Patriotic Party's (NPP) Security Committee for the 2012 elections, chaired by Dr. Kofi Konadu Apraku, on how to ensure a violent-free and peaceful elections.

The meeting, which was held last Friday, was at the request of the NPP, following the latter's petition to the Minister for the Interior and expressing lack of clear cut transparent election security plans that would assure Ghanaians of the peace they so ardently desire in the December 7 polls.

In his remarks, Dr. Apraku lamented that the heightened public anxiety and apprehensions about the willingness of the Police and other security agencies to maintain peace before, during, and after the election was as a result of the crescendo of voices rising from religious bodies, non-governmental organisations, traditional rulers, academia and students among many others.

According to him, the increasing public perception of the politicization of the security agencies, especially the Police, in its appointments and promotions, extension of contracts to retired senior personnel, rotations and deployments was of great concern to the public, a situation he argued could have negative implications on the elections.

"Of equal concern to the public and the NPP is the apparent intensified selective administration of justice by the police, especially in election related cases.

"Another issue of concern is the establishment of what appears to be a parallel Election Task Force at the office of the IGP to rival that of the National Election Task Force," the Chairman of the Security Committee for the 2012 NPP campaign added.

While reaffirming the NPP's commitment to a peaceful election, Dr. Apraku noted that the primary responsibility for ensuring and sustaining the peace before, during and after the election was an internal security matter within the constitutional mandate of the Ghana Police Service.

According to Dr. Apraku, it was in the context of the constitutional mandate of the Ghana Police Service that the NPP deemed it necessary to meet the IGP to demonstrate fair and impartial policing of the electoral processes before, during and after the December 7 polls.

Dr. Apraku further stated that the traditional role of the Police in election 2012 has become even more crucial in the light of the Electoral Commission's reaction to alleged security infractions that may have contributed significantly to tilting the scales in some voting areas in the 2008 Presidential and Parliamentary elections.

When provided copious evidence of electoral violence consistent with an agenda to deprive NPP polling agents and monitors of access to certain polling stations in a region declared virtually 'no go' area for the NPP, the Electoral Commissioner maintained that the validity of a vote cast, from his perspective, did not include an evaluation of potential criminal violence.

Dr. Apraku expressed serious concerns about the commitment of the NDC government to free, transparent, fair and violent-free elections, citing the government's track record in the conduct of three bye- elections in the Akwatia, Cheropini and Akwatia.

"Combining the apparent NDC government's lack of commitment to a free, fair and violent free election with the inability or unwillingness of the Police and the security agencies to act swiftly and decisively to maintain law, order and peace, provide ample justification for the anxiety, fear, insecurity and a sense of foreboding for our citizens as we get closer to the elections," he argues.

According to Dr. Apraku, the Biometric Registration exercise gave many opportunities for the Police to test their readiness at ensuring peace and order during this year's elections but failed.

He said the inability of the Police to assert its authority with swift and decisive actions robbed it of the opportunity to build public confidence in its ability to collectively protect all persons and political parties involved in the election, adding "too many incidents of too little too late being done about major acts of violence and impunity instigated by identifiable people puts the integrity of the Police on line."

To redeem its image as an impartial institution, Dr. Apraku called on the Police administration to do away with selective justice and demonstrate an unshakeable commitment to impartiality and send strong signals that the macho menace would not be tolerated.

This, he noted would go a long way to ease the fears of Ghanaians and ensure a violence free and fair election.

He again called on the police administration to ensure professional conduct during the election and also ensure fairness and transparency and commitment to lay down rules and procedures in its recruitment, appointments, promotions, deployments and rotation and the offer of contracts to retired officers.

The IGP and his entourage comprising the Deputy IGP, Mohammed Alhassan, COP, Rose Bio, COP, John Kudalor, COP, Prosper Agelor, COP, David Asante Appietu, ACOP, Fred Adu Annin, DCOP Mina Ayem and Director of Public Affairs, Cephas Arthur on their part pledged their commitment to ensuring professionalism and commitment to the nation rather than any political party.

Mr. Tawiah Quaye further indicated that motorcycles would not be allowed within a predetermined perimeter of the polling station on voting day. He called on the NPP leadership and all other political parties to admonish their supporters against acts of violence, harassment and intimidation before, during and after the elections.

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