Saturday, September 27, 2008

Role of security personnel paramount in Election 2008

    Speakers at a workshop on the role of the security services in ensuring peaceful elections in Kumasi, have noted that high degree of neutrality, alertness, and commitment of security personnel to maintaining law and order was paramount in ensuring the success of Election 2008.
     They contended that members of the security services in the country were individuals who had personal preferences for the political parties and candidates who would be contesting the polls.
     The speakers said despite this, it was essential that security personnel ensured that national interest superseded their personal interest, which they have demonstrated over the years. 
    The three-day workshop, held for a cross section of the security services was to help them improve on their capacity, to enable them to prevent conflicts and protect the general population to have confidence of the public.
     It was organized by Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung, KAS, one of the seven German political foundations seeking to promote the ideals of good governance across the globe.
     The participants called on security agents to exercise their duty without fear, favour or ill will to ensure peace and justice before, during and after the elections.
     Mr. Klaus D. Loetzer, Resident Representative of KAS, said both the State and Citizens had a role to play to ensure safety.
     He urged Ghanaians to give vital information to the police and corporate with them, especially at political functions.
    Mr. Loetzer cautioned the media and leaders of political parties against inflaming passions saying 'Ghanaians have no where to go, there is only one Ghana to live, governance is also one of the several sectors of the country. Ghana has conducted four elections under the fourth Republic and you must not allow this election to wipe the gains so far chalked."
     Mr. K.T. Hammond, Deputy Minister of the Interior, said Election 2008 would not only be a real test of the country's democratic credentials but also mark a significant milestone in the its political history.
     He said that political manipulations and misunderstandings were major causes of conflicts in most Africa countries.
     Mr. Hammond said despite the fact that the recent registration exercise was marred by violence at some centers, government was poised to sustain peace and stability in the country during the elections.
     He said "As security agencies you have no choice but to be free, fair, extra vigilant and ensure that those who attempt to foment trouble are put in their proper place".
     Mr. Emmanuel Owusu-Ansah, Ashanti Regional Minister said the success or failure of the forthcoming elections would depend largely on the conduct of members of security agencies and urged them to treat everyone equal and remain neutral in the electoral process.
    He said "If you remain neutral; you can discharge your duties effectively to win the confidence of the people".
     Mr. Emmanuel Debrah, a political science Lecturer at the University of Ghana, suggested that members of the security services undergo training on the administration of electoral process and complaints and evidence of violence should follow proper legal procedures.
     Regional Deputy Superintendent of Police, K.A Opare-Addo promised that the police would live up to expectation in the December polls.
     Mr. Kofi Asomaning, Regional Director of the Electoral Commission, said a secured environment for participants in any electoral process was fundamental
and charged the security agents to work towards violent- free elections.

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