The leadership of the main opposition political party, the New Patriotic Party (NPP) has petitioned the Inspector General of Police (IGP), Mr. John Kudalor to demonstrate that the police are ready to protect the people of the country without prejudice and favouritism.
The NPP said it is convinced the police have a critical role to play in ensuring that intimidation and threats of violence will not mar public confidence in the electoral process.
In a 4 paged letter addressed to the IGP signed by the Acting National Chairman, Freddie Blay, the party drew the attention of the IGP to the fact that with less than 22 days left until Election Day, the impartial and untainted professionalism of the Ghana Police Service is needed and is more important.
The letter was a follow up of the NPP delegation’s meeting with the IGP in the company of Senior Officers on Tuesday October 18, 2016, in the matter of peaceful election activities before, during and after the election and in the matter of prompt and objective enforcement of peace and security by the Ghana Police Service. “Sir, you would recall that we referred to and emphasized several complaints of incidents of violence and intimidation unlawfully perpetuated against officials and members of the New Patriotic Party all over the country by NDC activists.
“We call on you to demonstrate that you and your men can even handedly protect all Ghanaians without prejudice or favouritism.
“We are convinced the police have a critical role to play in ensuring that intimidation and threats of violence will not mar public confidence in the electoral process.
“In this critical period, with less than 22 days left until Election Day, the impartial and untainted professionalism of the Ghana Police Service is needed and is more important than ever,” the letter read.
According to the letter, issues of violence were discussed at length and in details with the IGP, while the party officers and its members in the various regions had made several complaints and appeals over the intimidation and violence but regrettably are yet to see concrete measures put in place to deal with, address or forestall further occurrences of such incidents of intimidation or violence.
The party, therefore, appealed formally to Mr. Kudalor, once more, to renew his efforts to enforce the peace, to ensure that all Ghanaians felt free of harassment and intimidation in these final weeks before Election Day on December 7, 2016.
The letter listed 11 evidential antecedence of the complaint and amongst them was that “on May 8th, 2016 during the limited registration exercise in the Volta Region, the NPP Regional Chairman, John Peter Amewu, was assaulted by men in Police uniform at Metsrikasa.
The men in uniform were preparing to carry registration equipment on a vehicle toward a town on the Togo boarder which had not been designated in the original registration movement plan. Mr. Amewu was assaulted for using his android phone to capture pictorial evidence of the scenario.
We lodged a complaint at the Regional Police Headquarters in Ho, but up till now, the Regional Police Command has not informed us of any results of their investigations.
“In the Asunafo North and South constituencies of the BrongAhafo Region, Abduallai Mohammed, popularly known as Naabu, a brother of the Local Government Minister, Alhaji Collins Dauda led ‘macho men’ to beat up NPP agents who were protesting the registration of minors and foreigners, in the full glare of the police, however, no police action has been taken.
“On the 2nd of October 2016, NDC ‘macho men’ attacked NPP supporters who were campaigning peacefully in Enyan Main in the Ajumako Enyan Essiam Constituency of the Central Region. Three people received severe knife wounds. The matter has not been investigated.
“Sir, On Sunday, the 13th of November 2016, NDC activists numbering over 3,000 who claimed they were going on a health walk at the Nima Police Station junction attempted, without any provocation, to force their way into the residence of the NPP’s Flag bearer.
“We have reliably gathered that a number of them threw stones, bottles and other forms of missiles into the house across the wall. Paintings, pictures, banners, etc on the wall were vandalized and in some cases removed by these marauding activists”.
It continued that, although the few personal security personnel at Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo Addo’s gate resisted their attempt to enter into the premises of our Presidential Candidate, this development is alarming and a great cause for concern to the NPP.
The party said it had reasons to believe that what happened was not an isolated incident. Mr. Blay said in the letter that the party believes it was an orchestrated and carefully planned attack either to harm, intimidate or provoke unnecessary tension in the country going into the December elections.
The implication of the development, the Acting Chairman of the NPP indicated that was most alarming, citing that the Police, “we are informed”, took over one hour or two, to even make a belated presence, although the Nima Police Station is a two-minute walk from our Flag bearer’s residence.
In addition to the above-mentioned incidents of violence, the letter stated that the NPP would like to express concern about the Ghana Police Service’s announcement of plans to use new police recruits, who are not yet fully qualified, to monitor polling stations and otherwise maintain law and order during the December 7 elections.
The use of unqualified recruits , and the rapid scaling up of the recruitment process, as the letter read, raises concerns for the party about transparency in how these individuals were recruited, and their capacity to provide full and equal protection to all Ghanaians on Election Day.
“Finally, we remain concerned about the threats made by your office to restrict the use of SOCIAL MEDIA and SMS communications on Election Day.
“Along with other stakeholders, the NPP believes that the free use of SOCIAL MEDIA and other forms of communication are critical to providing transparency and credibility to the election process, by allowing for independent reporting of incidents of violence and intimidation, as well as independent verification of results as tabulated and certified at individual polling stations.”