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17.04.2012 General News

Don't interfere with police work - Peace Council

By Daily Graphic
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The Chairman of the National Peace Council (NPC), the Most Rev Prof Emmanuel Asante, has advised politicians and the public not to interfere in the work of the police in dealing with electoral offences and acts of violence.

He said it was unfortunate that after the police had arrested deviants of the law, some politicians manipulated the system to have the suspects freed.

“It's the responsibility of the police to arrest and prosecute people who offend the law,” he said.

Sharing some thoughts on recent acts of violence that have characterised the biometric voters registration exercise with the Daily Graphic Monday, the Most Rev Asante, who is also the Presiding Bishop of the Methodist Church of Ghana, said it was also important for the police not to give the impression that their ranks were divided.

His advice comes in the wake of public criticism of the police for their handling of violence at some registration centres in the ongoing biometric registration exercise.

Functionaries of both the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) and the opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP) have had cause to protest against some policemen and the police in general for what they deemed to be improper conduct regarding the registration process.

The Most Rev Prof Asante was of a contrary view and believed the police had generally acquitted themselves very well, citing the arrest and prosecution of some offenders of the law.

He, however, noted that at the instance when a district police commander made a certain move to deal with election-related offences, only for it to be countered by the Police Administration sent a negative signal that the police lacked tenacity of purpose.

In apparent reference to the case involving the District Police Commander for Tafo-Pankrono, Superintendent Kwasi Ofori, and the Police Administration, the Presiding Bishop said the issue could have been resolved behind closed doors, without making public pronouncements on it.

He advised the Police Administration to be circumspect in handling such issues.

The Most Rev Prof Asante said the NPC would, on Wednesday, hold a crucial meeting with the leadership of the various political parties to discuss the need to ensure peace before, during and after the December general election.

The meeting, scheduled to take place at Dodowa in the Dangme West District, comes on the heels of rising political tension and pockets of violence in some constituencies during the biometric voters registration exercise.

The Most Rev Prof Asante said the current volatile political atmosphere needed urgent redress before things got out of hand.

“The NPC can only advise. We can take the horse to the riverside but we cannot force it to drink,” he remarked.

The ongoing biometric voter's registration exercise has been characterised by violence and open confrontation between supporters of opposing political parties in some constituencies, with Odododiodoo assuming an unenviable clout as the hotbed of such political turmoil.

The Most Rev Prof Asante said the prevailing high political tension was the result of the hype given to the biometric voters registration exercise.

As a result, he said, many people considered it a do-or-die affair, while others, in their quest to be vigilant, and ended up breaking the law.

He observed that although the law required political party representatives to fill challenge forms against persons they suspected to be unqualified to register, the lack of those forms had also contributed to people taking the law into their hands.

He advised political parties to put the interest of the nation above their parochial party interest.

He said apart from the meeting with the leadership of the political parties, the NPC would also engage officials of the Electoral Commission (EC) and the media on how best they could contribute to the maintenance of peace in the country.

The Most Rev Prof Asante assured Ghanaians that in spite of what was happening, “there will be peace in our land, but everyone has a role to play”.


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