Dr. Kofi Konadu Apraku, the chairman of the security committee of the NPP, has met with the Inspector General of Police (IGP), Paul Tawiah Quaye, over the creeping culture of lawlessness and insecurity as the December 7 general election approaches.
The meeting, DAILY GUIDE learnt, was held behind closed doors at the request of the NPP last Friday, during which Dr. Apraku expressed genuine concerns about the lack of clear cut and transparent election security plans that would assure the people of the peace they so ardently desired.
He further expressed serious concerns about the commitment of the NDC to free, transparent, fair and violent-free elections, citing government’s track record in the conduct of three by-elections in Atiwa, Chereponi and Akwatia where NDC thugs masquerading as Jihadists unleashed mayhem on their political opponents and destroyed personal property in broad daylight in the presence of several police officers.
As part of measures to prevent unscrupulous characters from meddling in security matters, posing as members of elections security taskforce, the NPP, DAILY GUIDE gathered, urged the IGP to furnish it with the list, including the full names, ranks, and duty posts of all police and security officers who would be involved in election related duties on election day.
This year’s elections, Dr. Apraku cautioned, would only be violent free if the security agencies, particularly the police, carried out their duties diligently without fear or favour by not allowing hoodlums to snatch and swap ballot boxes or prevent eligible voters from voting.
“The Police Service, in its leadership of electoral security, must demonstrate an unshakeable commitment to impartiality and send strong signals that the macho menace will not be tolerated. This will go a long way to ease the fears of Ghanaians and ensure a violence free and fair election,” he urged.
The former Member of Parliament for Offinso North enumerated verifiable instances of political violence perpetuated by agents believed to be associated with the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) with crass impunity during elections throughout the country.
“In Chereponi, an armed man caught on national television shooting at NPP supporters who was arrested and sent to the police station has had no charges pressed or any action taken against them. Again, in the Atiwa Constituency by-election, the NDC national women’s organizer allegedly drove her vehicle through a crowd of NPP supporters, injuring several people who were hospitalised for several months. She was neither arrested nor prosecuted,” Dr. Apraku said.
According to him, the apparent lack of commitment by the governing NDC to a free, fair and violent free election, coupled with the inability or unwillingness of the police and the security agencies to act swiftly and decisively to maintain law, order and peace, had provided ample justification for the anxiety, fear, insecurity and a sense of foreboding for the citizenry as the nation got closer to the elections.
Buttressing his point, Dr. Apraku cited some violent conduct when the biometric registration exercise took place, during which NDC machete-wielding thugs attacked their political opponents at Odododiodoo, Trobu-Amasaman, Krowor, Klottey-Korle and Dome-Kwabenya constituencies in the Greater Accra Region without the police taking any action.
He stated that calls from religious bodies, non-governmental organisations, traditional rulers, among others, for peaceful, free and fair elections were as a result of the heightened public anxiety and apprehension about the willingness and capability of the police and the security agencies to maintain peace before, during and after the elections.
Equally troubling, Dr. Apraku noted, was the increasing public perception of the politicization of security agencies, especially the police, in their appointments promotions, extension of contracts to retired senior personnel, rotations and deployments.
“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 taskforce at the office of the IGP to rival that of the national election taskforce,” he added.
While reaffirming the NPP’s commitment to a peaceful election, Dr. Apraku noted that ensuring and sustaining the peace before, during and after the elections was primarily an internal security matter within the constitutional mandate of the Ghana Police Service.
The traditional role of the police in election 2012, he pointed out, had become even more crucial in the light of the Electoral Commission’s reaction to alleged security infractions that might have contributed significantly to tilting the scales in some voting areas in the 2008 presidential and parliamentary elections.
The Police Administration, led by Inspector General of Police- Paul Tawia Quaye, Deputy IGP Mohammed Alhassan, Commissioner of Police (COP) Rose Bio, COP John Kudalor, COP Prosper Agbelor, COP David Asante Appietu, ACP Fred Adu Annin, DCOP Mina Ayem and Director of Public Affairs Cephas Arthur, pledged its total commitment to ensuring professionalism and commitment to the nation rather than to any political party.
The IGP further indicated that motorcycles would not be allowed within a predetermined perimeter of polling stations on voting day.
The IGP also indicated his willingness to meet again with the NPP and other political parties before the election to continue to provide a forum for sharing concerns and building greater confidence in the lead up to the election.
By Awudu Mahama