Minister of Parliamentary Affairs, Mr. Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu has admonished the state security agencies to address emerging security threats ahead of the December 7 General Elections.
Mr. Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu who was speaking at a forum organised by the Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs for the security agencies and political parties under the theme “2020 elections and its implications for peace and security in Ghana”, again called on them to beef up their operations at identified hotspots across the country before, during and after the 7 December polls.
His admonishing come on the back of reported fresh violence that erupted between supporters of the two major political parties, the New Patriotic Party (NPP) and the National Democratic Congress (NDC) over the weekend during a health walk at Jamestown in the Odododiodioo constituency and other pockets of violence that erupted during the voter registration exercise.
Mr. Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu who also doubles as the Majority Leader and Member of Parliament (MP) for Suame Constituency in the Ashanti Region explained explicitly that recent political violence, killings and armed robberies in the country ahead of the December 7 polls is a cause for worry.
“Increasing cases of armed robberies, the murder of the Mfansteman MP, Ekow Hayford, activities of secessionist groups in the Volta Region and threats from neighboring countries are enough reasons for the security agencies to gear up before the polls.” He reiterated.
The Minister of Parliamentary Affairs want all flash spots identified by the Ghana Police Service to be adequately monitored as the various political parties intensify their campaign in a bid to secure peace in the December elections.
Mr. Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu stressed the importance of peace in nation building and the role of the security agencies in safeguarding it.
“Security during election means protecting stakeholders such as officials, candidates, polling station workers, media and observers.
“It also means protecting electoral information such as poll results and data and campaign materials and everyone against death, destruction, damage, obstruction, and other impediments,” he explained.
On his part, the MP for Tamale Central Constituency in the Northern Region and Ranking Member on the Constitutional, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Committee, Mr. Inusah Fuseini demanded the highest standards of professionalism from the security agencies in the run up to the 2020 polls.
According to him, the conduct of security officers will be key in ensuring a violent free outcome during the polls.
“We also hope that personnel put the purpose for which they were sent to polling stations ahead of every decision and move they will make.
“This will work towards ensuring transparent, fair, free, peaceful, and credible elections,” he said.
In his welcome address, the Chief Director of the Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs said his outfit is making sure the country has a peaceful, free, fair, transparent and accountable election a priority hence engaging the security agencies and political parties who are critical stakeholders in the 2020 presidential and parliamentary elections.
He explained that the objectives of the forum are to support the confidence building initiatives by the state and non-state actors towards a peaceful election in December, 2020 as well as to encouraging a broad national consensus on the relationship between peace and national development in Ghana.
The forum was also used to:
- Highlight critical emerging security threats as election 2020 approaches.
- Provide an overview of the preparedness of the security agencies to provide a safe and secured environment for the conduct of the 2020 elections
- Elicit the support of the security agencies, political parties and candidates in the conduct of peaceful, free, fair, transparent and accountable elections
- Establish a relationship between the Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs and the security agencies in Ghana to enhance the peace and security of the state.
Participants at the forum were drawn from the Leadership of Parliament, the Security Agencies, Political Parties, Independent Governance Institutions, The National Security, Chief Directors, Management and Staff of the Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs and the Media.
Already, the Ghana Police Service says it has identified over 5000 hot spots in the forthcoming general elections which must be managed diligently to avoid violence.
While naming Ashanti Region as the area with the most flashpoints, the security service said it has already furnished the National Election Security Taskforce with the details of these places.
With just 44 days to the polls, many continue to express uneasiness.
Story: Franklin ASARE-DONKOH
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