06.12.2008 Elections

Security Agencies won't spare trouble-makers on polling day

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For the security agencies, the top priority during Sunday's polls would be to create a favourable atmosphere to enable electoral officials to go about their duties without hindrance, and to allow the electorate to cast their votes peacefully.

The Regional Electoral Task Force (RETF) is determined to make the ground safe for a successful poll and would, therefore, not spare any persons who try to disrupt the orderly conduct of the exercise.

Alhaji Hamidu Mahama, Upper East Regional Police Commander, made these remarks at a press conference held by the RETF in Bolgatanga on Saturday.

He said the security agencies in the region had gathered intelligence to the effect that, certain groups had planned to cause trouble at polling stations in their localities, if the outcome was not in their favour at the end of the elections.

"I advise them not to even think about it because they would regret a lot if they attempt disrupting the proceedings," he said.

In a bid to check any acts of sabotage and lawlessness, the Task Force had decided to ban the riding of motorcycles within 500 meters of any polling station in the region.

In addition, the wearing of long gowns and smocks to polling stations by voters is strictly prohibited, he declared.

The Regional Police Commander announced that special security arrangements had been made to contain any insurgence at noted flash-point areas of the region such as Bawku and Navrongo, and urged people in those towns not to entertain any fears, but to go about the voting exercise with confidence, knowing that the full force of the security agencies was behind them.

People who turn up at polling stations on Sunday could also be searched for concealed weapons, he said, and entreated political parties to remove all billboards mounted near polling stations before Sunday morning.

Quoting PNDC Law 284, Mr Iddrisu Adam, Regional Director of the Electoral Commission (EC) cautioned political party activists against canvassing for votes within 500 meters of any polling station, while the elections are in progress on Sunday.

Mr Adam also entreated party functionaries not to send vehicles bearing campaign posters to polling stations during the voting exercise, asking that such posters must be covered with plain brown paper as demanded by the electoral law. Also in attendance at the press briefing were other members of the RETF including the Customs, Excise and Preventive Service (CEPS), Immigration, Prisons and Ghana National Fire Service.

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