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15.11.2008 Elections

Security Services to conduct mock drills

Security Services to conduct mock drills

The National Election Security Task Force will undertake a mock exercise tomorrow and Monday to test the readiness of security services to respond to election-related crises during, the December 7 polls.

The exercise, code-named "Exercise Peace Angel", is to test the preparedness and ability of the security agencies in handling polls-related crises during the forthcoming elections.

A statement signed by the National Security Coordinator, Dr Sam G. Amoo, explained that the aim of the exercise was to synchronise operational plans and procedures and rehearse in a bid to integrate the various functions of security groups, task forces and agencies.

It appealed for public support and co-operation in the exercise, which would subsequently be replicated in the regions and districts.

It said the public might, therefore, see uniformed members of security services conducting scenarios as part of the training programme.

“We would want to assure the public that it is part of our resolve to ensure peaceful elections, by creating a congenial atmosphere for voters to exercise their right to vote," it said.

The statement expressed regret about any inconvenience the training programmes might cause.

In the Greater Accra Region, a regional simulation exercise will take place in two constituencies tomorrow.

They are Korley-Clottey and Okaikoi North and will involve selected polling stations in those constituencies, as well as the Achimota Forest between 6 a.m. and 6 p.m.

The communities in which the exercises will take place are the Cocoa Clinic, Global Revival Church, the Bubiashie Antioch Academy, Kaneshie Church of Pentecost, Kaneshie One and Two Primary, all in the Okaikoi North Constituency, the Osu Chief's Palace polling stations one and two, the Osu Cinema Hall and the Osu District Education Centre, a11in the Korley-Clottey Constituency, and the Achimota Forest.

The Accra Regional Police Commander, Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCOP) James Oppong-Buanuh, told the Daily Graphic that journalists would be part of the 12-hour exercise to assure the general public of the openness and transparency of the exercises.

In that way, he said, the journalists would have adequate information with which to educate the public on security arrangements for the elections and help erase any doubts in the minds of the public.

DCOP Oppong-Buanuh appealed to residents of the affected communities to remain calm and go about their daily activities as usual.

DCOP Oppong-Buanuh, who is also the Chairman of the Greater Accra Regional Elections Security Task Force, said the simulation exercise and the security arrangements for the elections were not to intimidate any individual, group or political party.

He said the task force had identified all the flash points in the regions and mapped out adequate arrangements to deal with any troubles there.

He however, pointed out that the security arrangements were not for the flash points only but also all the electoral centres.

According to him, one person could turn an otherwise peaceful and calm electoral centre into a trouble zone, hence the need to prepare for all the electoral centres.

DCOP Oppong-Buanuh said more than 1,000 security personnel would be deployed throughout the region on election day and thereafter to restore law and order in places where lawlessness might break out mainly due to electoral disputes and jubilation of victors.

Explaining the rationale behind the exercises, Dr Amoo gave the assurance that the security agencies were fully prepared to maintain total security during the elections to enable the Electoral Commission to conduct the polls in a free and peaceful atmosphere.

He noted that it was rather unfortunate that certain personalities often referred to the sad events in Kenya and Zimbabwe as possible repercussions should the election results not favour their political parties.

Dr Amoo called on Ghanaians to have the belief that the December 7 polls would lead to the consolidation of democratic governance and serve as a model for the rest of the countries in the sub-region, some of which had experienced violence and even civil wars.

He urged Ghanaians not to see the elections as a war but just a regular contest for the leadership of the country adding that "they will be done in a peaceful manner".

Dr Amoo expressed regret at the frequent reference to the elections by social commentators as a period when Ghana would experience an Armageddon and charged Ghanaians to look at the polls as normal experiences in the life of any democratic society.