NEWS COMMENTARY ON THE READINESS OF THE POLICE FOR THE DECEMBER ELECTIONS
Last week the Ghana Police Service embarked on an endurance march through some principal streets of Accra to show its readiness to provide adequate security before, during and after the general election. The Police Service is one of the security agencies mandated to maintain law and order and protect people in the country, therefore its readiness is important, particularly for a national assignment such as elections.
It is without doubt that the Police renders invaluable service to the state on daily basis, through the performance of its functions such as providing security and ensuring the maintenance of law and order for the citizenry to go about their normal duties. What is ahead of the Service now is the 2020 general election.
Director of Operations of the Ghana Police Service, DCOP Kwaku Boadu Peprah at the end of the security endurance march, advised all police officers to desist from engaging in partisan politics in preparation for the task ahead as their rules frown on that. He asked personnel to take a cue from their seniors in the service who have been loyal servants to the state. He also cautioned them against being used as agents of violence during the elections and asked them to perform their duties diligently and be impartial during the elections.
With less than 70 days to the elections, it is important for Ghanaians to support those entrusted with the mandate of maintaining law and order to protect the people to enable them to perform their duties well. Since this is not the first time the Police is providing security for the elections, it is hoped that all what is needed to be done would be done in terms of preparation for a peaceful and orderly elections.Indeed, part of the assurance of their readiness is display through an endurance march.
Over the years the Police have performed creditably, although critics may have few issues with their overall performance. What is important is that, going into the 2020 general election they have to perform their duties professionally and avoid partisan politics to gain more confidence from the public. The Ayawaso West Wuogon debate where state Police officers were seen idling for vigilante groups to invoke mayhem and violence should never be repeated anywhere in the history of our country if the Service wants to redeem its image, trust and confidence are very important ingredients in the security mix and architecture particularly if the Police wants public support to enforce law and order.
The officers are reminded of who they owe allegiance to, which is the state and not any political party. There have been claims of political influence and interference in the affairs of the Police Service in the country. Be that as it may, it is the right of every citizen to demand that the Police remain impartial when dealing with candidates, irrespective of their stature or political party. The police administration needs to do all it can to restore public confidence. They must not fail to act decisively in the forthcoming elections to uphold public confidence in the Service. To prove their professionalism, the Police must seize the moment and conduct their operations to the admiration of all Ghanaians. Those who will be on duty during the elections must be approachable and accessible to voters who may be in need of their assistance.
On the day of elections, it is most likely the atmosphere will be politically charged so the police will have to exhibit fairness to avoid chaos. At times, unscrupulous groups and individuals take the opportunity to create problems for the police, and therefore they must be swift in their actions to stop any group or individual that tries to foment trouble. The time is now, for stakeholders to get actively involved in the peace building process. The Police must help to collectively stop people who are bent on fomenting trouble to tarnish the country’s democratic image not to succeed.
By Hannah Dadzie, a Journalist.