The Inspector- General of Police (IGP), Mr. John Kudalor, has said the police will clamp down on any group who would want to foment trouble in the 2016 elections.
Mr. Kudalor said the formation of political vigilante groups have been a worry to the police administration ahead of the polls.
In a meeting with National Youth Organisers of the various political parties in Accra yesterday, the IGP said the police was committed to ensuring the November general elections were conducted in a free and fair atmosphere.
The meeting dubbed IGP’s Dialogue with Youth Groups of Political Parties was on the theme “Safeguarding Our Democracy: Role of the Youth in Ensuring Violence-Free Elections”.
It brought together youth leaders and youth wings of the political parties under one roof to discuss their role in ensuring a peaceful electioneering campaign in the run-up to the presidential and parliamentary elections.
According to Mr. Kudalor, the Police Service is fully aware of the challenges the elections posed to the security of the state and that “the overall success of the elections is in large contingent on peace and security to be provided by multiple actors” though to be spearheaded by the police.
Ghana, with a majority of its population in the youth bracket, Kudalor said that makes the youth a critical actor in peace, security and development hence the need to engage the youth in attaining a peaceful country.
“The need for this engagement stems from the use of some of the youth (groups) as political vigilantes” he said and added that “the last bye-election in Talensi saw the manifestation of some form of political violence by vigilantes that bespeaks the need for consistent engagement with youth political parties for peaceful elections”.
The engagement, he noted is a vital component of the elections security which acts on early warning signs and consistent with the philosophy of the National Elections Security Task Force, the police will be meeting the youth wing of the parties at regional levels.
As a non partisan stakeholder, the Police chief said, there was the need for the police to strengthen the existing cordial relationship between all political parties for a common goal urging the youth leaders to ensure their followers desisted from unlawful activities which have the tendencies to disrupt the security of the nation.
“Disagreements and misunderstandings among you should not be a recipe for violence. I will urge you to accommodate each other’s views since it forms part of the core of democracy”, he told the youth leaders.
“We will be fair and firm in the dispensation of our duties before, during and after the election. Our men have been warned of the possible negative implication of taking a partisan position in the discharge of their duties” he assured.
The Youth Organiser of the New Patriotic Party, Sammy Awuku, however, in a sideline interview said the party was ready to cooperate with the police but “we will not append our signature to every document for appending sake. We will make sure that every ‘I’ is doted and every ‘T’ is crossed” so that there is a level playing field for all the parties.
Sidii Abubakar Musah of the National Democratic Congress on the other hand welcomed the dialogue and expressed his party’s preparedness to “collaborate with the police for a free, fair and a non- violent election in
By Julius Yao Petetsi & Dennis Amegede