Controversy over when political parties were to end their rallies and campaigns nearly marred a meeting of the Upper East Regional Election Security Task Force and representatives of the parties at Bolgatanga on Wednesday.
The meeting, which was the first in the region, was organised by the Task Force and aimed among other things at creating a platform for the two bodies and the Electoral Commission (EC) to exchange ideas with the view to ensuring peace before, during and after the December election.
The controversy started when Mr Mahamoud Mahama, Regional Organiser of the NPP, in his reaction to the address delivered by ACP Alhaji Mahama Hamidu, Regional Chairman of the Task Force, stated that it would be difficult for any political party to adhere strictly to the 6 pm deadline of ral1ies and campaigns.
According to him, no political party could have the moral courage to ignore a gathering of its supporters that had waited for it from the afternoon, without addressing them even if it was after 6 p.m.
Assuming a political party closes from a ral1y in Fumbisi at six o'clock in the evening only for it to come to Sandema to meet another crowd waiting to be addressed by party leaders even though the time was far past the stipulated period could that party ignore its supporters and members?", he asked.
Mr William Klutse, Regional Commander of Customs, Excise and Preventive Services (CEPS) and member of the Task Force intervened and argued that the issue was not about doing what would please sup¬porters of a party but about doing what was right to ensure peace.
ACP Hamidu, who is also the Regional Police Commander was compelled to use his position to restore order when the exchanges became hotter.
He described the situation as unfortunate, stressing that what was important was for political parties to give prior notice to the police that their rallies or campaigns would go beyond the time.
According to him, this information, would help the police take contingency measures to forestall unexpected events.
He stressed the need for political parties to notify the police five clear days prior to a political rally or any event, adding that, this was not like seeking for permission from the police.
According to him, security personnel were obliged to be loyal to the state always and had sworn an oath to that effect stressing that it was unfortunate that people and some political parties interpret loyalty to the state as loyalty to the government of the day.
He reiterated the need for peace in Bawku to enable all political parties to be able to campaign peacefully.
Source The Ghanaian Times