Friday, December 12, 2008

NESTF commends Ghanaians, calls for same maturity during run-off

The National Elections Security Task Force (NESTF) on Thursday commended Ghanaians for the peaceful conduct of the December 7 election, calling on them to exhibit the same sense of maturity during the second round of voting.
     "We should all be proud of ourselves", said the Chairman of the NESTF, Inspector-General of Police (IGP) Patrick Acheampong at a meeting in Accra on Thursday to review the performance of the Task Force before, during and after the polls to make recommendations for the successful conduct of the run-off.
        Mr Acheampong commended the Electoral Commission (EC), the media, the political parties and the electorate for their comportment and cooperation in ensuring that the polls went successful.
         He also congratulated the security agencies for their "selfless dedication" to duty during the period and urged them to gird their loins for the December 28 run-off.
      The IGP however complained of too many reports on FM stations alleging that some polling stations had no security officer when in actual fact there were other "sister security service" operatives on the ground.
      He said the police "cannot be at every polling station, so we cannot make up the desired numbers".
      He explained that out of the number of police personnel, some were trained as reserves and could not be part of the regular deployment to various polling centres, urging the media to discontinue the notion that there was no security officer at a particular pooling station "simply because there was no police officer there".
       Mr Acheampong called on the electorate to cooperate with the security services when activities did not move on time as expected, because delays were bound to occur in the release of result by the EC.
        He also advised the media to give adequate training to their correspondents on how to report accurately to bring uniformity to their reportage in the second round of polls.
     The observation in the first round of polls indicated that some of the correspondents fumbled with pronunciations or actual figures, while others chose to announce the results either according to the position of the political parties on the ballot or that of the two big parties first, making it very confusing for listeners.
       The IGP also asked the media to make a distinction between provisional results and certified results by the EC to avoid putting out figures that may not be consistent with what the EC officially announces.
      Prior to last Sunday's elections, the NESTF announced a three-phase security arrangement for the country.
    Before the polls, the security agencies begun road-blocks and snap checks throughout the country as part of the post-election operations. Joint police/military teams and personnel of the Rapid Deployment Force (RDF) were also put on alert to deal with any emergencies.
    The first phase of the security operations that started on September 8, and ended on December 6, was distinguished by intensified political campaigns and preparation and distribution of electoral materials and personnel throughout the country.
         Phase Two, which started from December 7, 2008 and ended today Thursday,  December 11, 2008, was also distinguished by the casting of votes, counting of votes/compilation of results and mounting tension and anxiety associated with the elections, recovery of election materials and personnel, announcement of results and possible conflict.
       The third phase that spans the period between December 10 and March 10, 2009, will be characterized by the declaration of results, celebrations, victory rallies, protests or demonstrations by the defeated, crowd disturbances, and the possibility of non-acceptance of results, in which security services were expected to monitor post-election activities, maintain the RDFs and maintain border security in conjunction with other security agencies and the security forces of neighbouring countries.

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