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09.09.2004 Regional News

Security agencies urged to adopt strategies to maintain peace

By GNA

Elmina (C/R), Sept. 9, GNA - Mr Thomas Broni, Deputy Minister for Interior on Thursday called on the security agencies to adopt strategies to avert any incidents that have the tendency to disturb the peace in the country, during and after the December elections.

He said, such strategies must include sensitisation programmes, regular patrols and "cordon and search" operations to retrieve offensive weapons from members of the public.

Mr Broni made the call at the opening of a two-day workshop on the "Role of the Security Services in the Up-Coming Presidential and Parliamentary Elections in Ghana", at Elmina.

It is being organised by the sector ministry, and has personnel from the police, fire, prisons, immigration and the customs, excise and preventive services in the region, attending.

It is aimed at providing a platform for them to brainstorm and come out with ideas and proposals, for dealing with problems associated with general elections in the country.

Mr Broni pointed out that, the power or ability of elections to make or destroy nations was undisputable, and noted that it was misunderstanding in the electoral processes that caused armed conflicts and mayhem in Togo, Liberia and Cote d'Ivoire.

Mr Broni therefore, urged them to be fair and firm, and be extra vigilant to ensure that those who attempt to foment trouble were "put in their proper place".

He also repeated calls on media practitioners to be circumspect in their reportage, and avoid personal attacks", to ensure the prevalence of peace.

He expressed gratitude to the Konrad Adenauer Foundation (KAF) for sponsoring the workshop, and urged other civil society organisations to emulate the foundation's example, in ensuring the sustenance of peace. Mr Johannes Rey, KAF representative in Ghana, for his part, said it was the responsibility of the security services to protect Ghana's infant democracy, emphasizing that, they must be neutral and ensure that the elections were conducted in a manner that would not disturb the peace prevailing now in the country.

Mr David Kanga, deputy chairman of the Electoral Commission (EC), who presided, advised the participants to attach much importance to the workshop so as to achieve the desired result for which, it was organised.

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