Roads Leading To EC Closed By Task Force

The National Elections Security Task Force has announced the closure of all roads leading to and out of the premises of the Electoral Commission (EC) from today, January 2, 2009 until further notice.

It said the roads would remain closed until the task force deemed it fit to re-open them for public use.

The Spokesperson of the task force, Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) Kwesi Ofori, told the Daily Graphic that the decision to close the Castle Road from the African Liberation Circle through to the Cathedral Square, the road from the traffic light at the Alisa Hotel Junction at Ridge to the Ridge Roundabout, the road from the TUC, through the Labour College and the roads within the Ridge residential area was to create an enabling environment for officials of the EC, the Ridge Hospital, other business entities, as well as residents and patients in the area, to undertake their legitimate activities without fear.
He said only officials of the EC, stakeholders in the presidential election, emergency services, security personnel and patients would be allowed access to those routes.
He said any unlawful gathering by any group in the area would be met with legitimate force by security personnel.
DSP Ofori, who is also the Director of Public Affairs of the Ghana Police Service, appealed to the leadership of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) and the National Democratic Congress (NDC) and their followers not to “use the area as a playing field”.
He said anyone caught breaking the routes would be arrested and prosecuted.
Meanwhile, calm has finally returned to the vicinity of the EC after supporters of the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP) staged a protest around the area.
The supporters were calling on the EC Chairman, Dr Kwadwo Afari-Gyan, to nullify results of the presidential run-off in some constituencies in the Volta Region.
As of 8 p.m. on Wednesday the hundreds of supporters who thronged the EC with red bands around their heads and wrists and wielding clubs, machetes and stones had dispersed, leaving the security forces, mainly the police, who kept vigil to protect the commission.
Along the streets were large volumes of rubbish that the supporters had left behind in the course of the protest that lasted for several hours.
When approached, some of the police personnel on guard who spoke on grounds of anonymity described the scenes created by the supporters of both the NPP and the National Democratic Congress (NDC) as most unfortunate and called on their leaders to prevail on them to desist from protesting around the area.
They said the EC was a security zone and that such protests would not be allowed to disrupt the activities of its officials.
“Whether it is the supporters of the NDC or the NPP, they should learn to respect the law. If they do not, we will act according to the law,” they said.
The Police Administration had, on Wednesday, accused the ruling NPP and the opposition NDC of violating the Public Order Law Act by engaging in mass public activities and converging on the offices of the EC.
Last Tuesday, supporters of the NDC converged on the EC to demonstrate against what they termed as delays in declaring the winner of the presidential run-off between their candidate, Professor J.E.A. Mills, and the candidate of the NPP, Nana Akufo-Addo.
As if to undo the demonstration by the NDC supporters, the following day hundreds of NPP supporters also held a similar demonstration at the EC to protest the results released by the commission that put the NDC flag bearer in the lead.
During the NPP demonstration on Wednesday, the Greater Accra Regional Police Operations Commander, ACP Yohonu, was hit with a stone and rushed to the Police Hospital, where he was admitted.
Commenting on the issue later, DSP Kwesi Ofori warned that henceforth the police would deal firmly with all such illegal gatherings and disorder, irrespective of which political party was involved.
Story by Albert Salia