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17.11.2008 General News

Security In Mock Drill

A two-day joint military/police exercise to test the preparedness of the security agencies to handle election-related crisis on December 7, began in Accra on Saturday night.

During the exercise, an imaginary scenario was created and staged at four polling stations at the North Kaneshie 1 and 2 Primary School area and Bubiashie Seventh Day Adventist Church.

A scene where some macho men seized ballot boxes from those polling stations and attempted to take them away after the electorate had finished casting their votes was enacted.

A joint military/police task force was called in and it immediately rushed to the scene; and prevented the machomen from taking the boxes away.

The macho men were subsequently over-powered and arrested.

In another scenario, the vehicle carrying the boxes broke down and a group of people pounced on the officials of the Electoral Commission (EC), seized the boxes and were about to take them away when the task force was called in to arrest the situation.

After the exercise, the Greater Accra Regional Police Commander, DCOP James Oppong Bonuah, described it as highly successful.

He said the public co-operated with the task force, which enabled its members to carry through the objective of the exercise.

He said all the scenarios were executed smoothly without any problems.

Addressing security agents in the Ashanti Region, the Regional Police Commander, DCOP Kwaku Ayensu Opare-Addo, told the personnel that the security apparatus had the duty to prevent potential troublemakers from creating anarchy before, during and after the December election, made up of the military, the police, the immigration, prisons, CEPS and the fire service, who took part in the joint operation.

He told them they also had the responsibility to win the confidence of the electorate by defusing tension likely to cause fear.

"There is the need to exhibit the highest sense of professionalism and transparency in the discharge of our responsibility, as well as being fair and firm to enable the election to be held in an atmosphere of peace," he charged.

DCOP Opare-Addo said it was equally important for the security apparatus to be diligent in their operations, stressing, "if some people want to destroy the nation to achieve their selfish interest, it is our responsibility to fish them out and make them face the full rigours of the law without any fear or favour".

The Officer Commanding the 4BN, Major Richard Amponsem Boateng, said it was the duty of the military to join hands with the police and other security agencies to maintain internal peace at all times.

The Regional Electoral Officer, Mr Kofi Asomanin, urged the security apparatus to manage the electoral process in a way that would make the electorate elect their leaders legitimately.

He said it was equally important for them to give the polling officers, as well as the ballot boxes and all materials needed for the conduct of the election, adequate security.

Story by Michael Donkor