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14.04.2012 Politics

Police Will Be Ruthless With Those Who Breach Electoral Laws

By Daily Graphic
Police Will Be Ruthless With Those Who Breach Electoral Laws
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The Police Administration says it will deal ruthlessly with people who use force to challenge the eligibility of applicants at the biometric registration exercise.

The Commissioner of Police in charge of Administration, Ms Rose Bio Atinga, who gave the warning in Accra, said the electoral laws of the country vividly prescribed civilised and legal means for people who had doubts over the eligibility of applicants to challenge the registration of such people.

Ms Atinga was addressing the media after a closed-door meeting between the top brass of the Police Service and their Electoral Commission (EC) counterparts at the EC Headquarters in Accra yesterday.

The meeting was to afford the two state institutions the opportunity to review the first 10 days of the 40-day biometric voters registration exercise.

She noted that having doubts concerning someone’s nationality or age was not enough grounds to use force to pull such a person from the queue, adding that there were many people with non-traditional Ghanaian names or foreign names who were Ghanaians.

She said because there was the tendency for some non-Ghanaians and some minors to register, people with evidence must pick challenge forms, fill them and appear before the District Registration Review Committee (DRRC).

She said before the committee, “the onus is on you, the one who challenged the person, to prove that the person is not a Ghanaian, is a minor, not of sound mind or not the person he claimed to be”.

According to EC rules and regulations, such an applicant will be allowed to go through the process, except that he or she will not be issued with the voters identity card until the challenge is determined by the DRRC.

Both the applicant and the challenger will appear before the DRRC, which consists of the highest ranking police officer and his Ghana Education Service counterpart, a representative of the traditional authority, all from the district, for the hearing and determination of such a matter.

Ms Atinga said more armed men would be deployed to protect the biometric kits, EC officials and Ghanaians who would be at the registration centres to exercise their civic responsibility of getting their names in the voters roll.

The police delegation was led by the Inspector-General of Police, Mr Paul Tawiah Quaye, while the EC team was led by its Chairman, Dr Kwadwo Afari-Gyan.

Briefing the media before the two teams went for the closed-door meeting, Dr Afari-Gyan said the EC and the police would share information to ensure a peaceful registration exercise, especially for the police to carry out their responsibility of providing security for the process.

He said the EC had no official powers to either arrest or prosecute people who flouted electoral laws.

Rather, he said, it was the police who could undertake those duties and promised to furnish the police with all the necessary information to deal with recalcitrant people.

Dr Afari-Gyan expressed worry over disturbing incidents of violence and attacks at the various registration centres, especially in the Ashanti Region, and appealed to the police to deal with those situations.

The IGP, for his part, told the media that the meeting would afford the Police Administration the opportunity to put in place all the needed corrective measures to ensure that all the problems encountered during the first 10 days of the registration exercise would either be minimised or eliminated entirely.

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