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21.04.2004 General News

Police dispels rumours about secret bases

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Ho, April 21, GNA - Mr Kofi Duku Arthur, Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCOP) in-charge of the Volta Region on Wednesday dispelled rumours of secret training bases being set up in some parts of the region to serve the interest of a political party.

Mr Arthur said what was being done was exploratory work towards the creation of a security base at Peki to strengthen the police at the Kporvi barrier on the Accra-Ho highway because of the Peki-Tsito conflict.

The Regional Police Commander made the point at a meeting held by the Regional Election Security Committee with representatives of political parties in the Volta Region at Ho where the party representatives raised concerns about the creation of police training bases.

Mr Arthur said, "I sent people to carry out a reconnaissance of the place and select a suitable site and liase with the Chief." He said there are four such security bases in the Alavanyo-Nkonya area which might be increased to five.

Mr Arthur said the moves are in the interest of peace in those areas in particular and in the region in general. He appealed to political party leaders to be wary of the effects of their pronouncements on their followers.

"Party supporters listen and take inspiration from their leaders who also have the responsibility to direct them on a constructive course", he said.

Mr Arthur cautioned that leaders whose pronouncements incite their followers to breach the peace would be answerable to the law. He said the security agencies in the region welcomed denials by political parties that they were training macho-men in preparation for the upcoming elections.

Mr Arthur said the security agencies would however, not take kindly to any negative developments in that direction.

He pledged that the Police would act professionally and fairly towards all political parties during the period and urged them not to take the law into their own hands.

Mr James Arthur Yeboah, Deputy Volta Regional Director of the Electoral Commission (EC) urged the political parties to abide by their own rules set out by the Inter-Party Advisory Committee and other relevant rules and regulations to ensure free, fair and transparent elections.

Mr Yeboah impressed upon political parties that elections are organised in a socio-cultural setting where technical faults and errors could not be ruled out.

He said such imperfections should, however not be the grounds for doubting the free and fair outcome of the elections and therefore, to call for its nullification.

Mr Yeboah explained that certain things such as parties bringing party agents from elsewhere to secure their interests at other places could be wrong but not necessarily illegal.

He said, while some actions could be criminal and therefore, liable for prosecution, others could be handled on the spot to allow the election process to continue.

He said it is necessary to be circumspect in calling to order the impartiality of those in-charge of all aspects of elections into disrepute.

The party representatives expressed apprehensions about acts of obstruction and threats by their opponents preceding and during the 2000 elections and also about the confusion about the exact dates for taking photographs in the region.

They also impressed on the EC and the Police authorities to remedy the situation in which Police personnel who would be detailed to polling stations would desert their posts under the pretext of going to look for food, especially during the critical period of 3pm to 5pm.

Among those present was Mr Andrew Gyabah, Commissioner of Police (COP)in-charge of Technical Services who has been assigned to the region as part of nationwide security arrangements towards the elections.

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