Politics Wed, 20 Aug 2008

Volta NDC sets condition for co-operation with the police

Ho, Aug. 20, GNA - The Volta Region Branch of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) on Wednesday asked the Regional Police Command to furnish it with investigations regarding the party's alleged agenda to destabilize the region.

The receipt of that investigative report would be crucial to establishing mutual trust and co-operation between the Party and the Police in the region.

Mr Modestus Ahiable, the Regional Chairman of the Party gave the condition at a press briefing in Ho to explain the Party's walk out of a meeting with representatives of the security services on Wednesday to discuss issues regarding this year's general elections.

He said it was strange that none of the other political parties in the region bothered to attend such monthly meetings, a source of worry to Mr Bernard Dery, Regional Police Commander, and convener.

Mr Ahiable referred to a story in one of the dailies in June this year, in which the Volta Regional Minister, Mr Kofi Dzamesi was reported to have said that, an incident in his residency in May in which a Police Officer and an intruder died, were part of a larger plot by the NDC to destabilize the region.

He said the NDC took the allegation seriously because Mr Dzamesi was reported to have made the allegation soon after coming out of the Regional Security Council meeting, prompted by the incident at the residency.

Mr Ahiable said the party's contention with the Regional Police Commander, Mr Bernard Dery was that, by his position he should be advising the Regional Minister on security issues and how he should comment on such issues.

He said the allegation amounted to slander, and that the party would lodge a formal complaint with the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ), and possibly go to court for redress.

Asked if that meant that the NDC would not involve the police in its political activities, Mr Ahiable said the party would abide by the Public Order Act, but would not be part of any security related meeting called by the Regional Police Command to discuss issues pertaining to the December elections.

Regarding the enforcement of the Public Order Act, Mr Ahiable said the Police should be circumspect in the way it applied its discretionary powers in order to ensure peace.

Referring to Part one (2) (1b) of Act 491, he said under no circumstances should the police attempt to remove any ballot boxes from any polling station on election day, unless with the authority of the Presiding Officers in consultation with agents of the Political parties. "I have been telling our activists wherever that, I went not to tolerate such a thing. It constitutes abuse of the law," he said.

He said on the day of election, officials of the Electoral Commission would be the ones in charge of security at the Polling stations and the Police would only act on their instructions.

"Even the IGP takes instructions from the Electoral Commissioner that day concerning the elections," Mr Ahiable said.

Source: GNA