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11.11.2008 Politics

Politicians, media urged to support police… To ensure incident free elections

By Clement Boteng, Wa - Ghanaian Chronicle
Politicians, media urged to support police… To ensure incident free elections

The Upper West Regional Police Commander, DCOP Kwasi Appiah Boateng, has enjoined political leaders in the country, to reciprocate whatever peace efforts the security agencies were making, to ensure incident-free elections.

He entreated the political leaders to avoid using inflammatory language on political platforms, and also educate their supporters to refrain from any acts that would bring the nation down.

To the media, DCOP Boateng appealed to them not to publish or say anything that would inflame passions.

He commended them for their conduct and work done so far.

Addressing some selected security personnel from the security services in the Upper West Region, the Regional Police Commander stressed the on need to recognise the rights of citizens, and advised the security officers to exercise power in humility, and not to put fear into the people.

“In fact, this is the most crucial time for us to exhibit our professionalism for the whole world to see,” he reiterated, emphasising, “we should also not loose sight of our traditional roles of ensuring that citizens are protected, control the crowds, ensuring that electoral offences are expeditiously dealt with, and also to ensure free flow of traffic during the period.”

He assured the general public that the upcoming joint security mock exercise, slated for Sunday, November 16, 2008, would be undertaken in their interest, by ensuring their safety on election day, so that they could come out in their numbers to vote.

He was optimistic that the mock exercise would help the security agents understand the task ahead of them, test the effectiveness of their leadership, and generally prepare for December 7.

The joint security mock exercise, dubbed 'Exercise Peace Angel,' is an experimentation of a series of vigorous trainings undertaken so far by the joint security personnel.

This was to assess how prepared they were in handling security situations before, during and after the elections.

It would also enable the security services identify their weaknesses, and also test the efficiency of their equipment.

On his part, the Commanding Officer of the Airborne Force, Tamale, Lt Col. Isaac Awuah-Mantey, tasked the media to do their utmost to explain the significance and motive behind the mock exercise, by extensively publicising the exercise.

He, however, entreated them to do so with circumspection, in order to allay the fears of the public.

He said that the military would harmonise operational plans, integrate and develop teamwork with other security services, to ensure that peace was maintained in the country.

The Director-General of Police Operations, DCOP Patrick Timbilla, took the participants through some anticipated challenges, and how to handle them when they occur.

He stressed the need for security personnel to be fair, firm, knowledgeable, tolerant, and polite, as they exhibit a high sense of professionalism in discharging their lawful duties in this electioneering period, in order to win the confidence of the public.

DCOP Timbillah reiterated the readiness and commitment of his outfit to play a leading role, and encouraged other security agencies to collaborate with the police, to achieve the common goal of ensuring peace in the country.

The Upper West Regional Director of the Electoral Commission, Mr. Mahama Yahaya, spelt out the expectations of the security personnel on election day, explaining what constituted interference in the electoral process, among others.

He said the region had 854 polling stations, and expected that each station would have a security officer, but entreated the officers to always confer with the electoral officials, particularly the presiding officers, before actions were taken at the polling stations.