Information in the public domain indicates that 62,794 security personnel will be deployed for the December 7, 2020 elections.
When it comes to law and order in the country, as the forthcoming elections would call for, the police are frontliners.
The Ghana Police Service is said to have staff strength of just more than 30,000 officers across over 650 stations in the country. This means we need to double that strength for the police to be able to handle only the elections.
And surely, even if that strength is available, the police stations cannot be deserted for the sake of the election; there must be others to man affairs other than the elections. That is why other security personnel like our soldiers, prisons officers and firefighters should be included in the election deployment.
However this decision may appear to others, it is a necessary evil because elections in Africa have become life-and-death matter.
Even though election-related violence in Ghana has never escalated to an uncontrollable level, we should not relent on our efforts in ensuring peace as the polls get closer.
The Ghanaian Times believes our security agencies do not want to throw caution to the wind for the unexpected to happen before they react with a fire-fighting approach.
All of us know what election-related violence has done in some African countries such as DR Congo, Sudan, Central African Republic and Cote d’ Ivoire.
Being proactive in security matters is the best way to go and the deployment of security personnel announced is highly recommendable.
It must not be lost on us that some of the things certain political activists spew out can incite violence.
There are 275 constituencies divided into over 33,000 polling stations and according to Mr Samuel D. Kwaah, the Deputy Director for Electoral Services at the Electoral Commission (EC), the existing figure may increase.
He says the recent voter registration has shown that some polling stations have recorded figures more than the EC threshold for polling. According to Mr Kwaah, in such situations, the EC would be forced to split certain polling stations into A and B.
The splitting calls for additional security personnel at such stations.
Whatever the case may be, we the citizenry, especially those of us who would be at the polling stations, should be vigilant enough and give support to the security personnel.
Nelson Mandela of blessed memory once said, “Safety and security don’t just happen; they are the result of collective consensus and public investment. We owe our children, the most vulnerable citizens in our society, a life free of violence and fear.”
And Mandela is right. We do not need political violence here because we have many vulnerable people besides the children – the women, physically-challenged, the sick, who need protection.
The Ghanaian Times supports the assertion by the Inspector General of Police (IGP) James Oppong-Boanuh that the security agencies will deal with anyone or group of people who will foment trouble before, during and after the elections.
What is more gratifying is the assurance by the IGP that security personnel who will misconduct themselves during the polls would not be spared.
There is no doubt that these are the most appropriate ways to prevent election-related violence and maintain the country’s record of always conducting free and fair elections.