Police Deploy 800 Officers To Assin North

…. As IGP Orders MPs’ Bodyguards To Withdraw Their Guns

As part of today’s by-election in the Assin North constituency in the Central Region, the police administration has deployed some 800 police officers to that area to maintain law and order.

The Inspector General of Police (IGP), Dr. George Akuffo Dampare, has also directed that all bodyguards of legislators and other officials of government handover their weapons.

The measure by the police, The Anchor gathered, is to ensure an incident-free election before, during and after the much-anticipated and highly contested race.

Director of Elections at the Electoral Commission (EC), Dr.Serebour Quaicoe, who disclosed the total number of security personnel to the media, said the administration has assured that there will be adequate security and orderliness to forestall any act of violence.

“I have met with the Regional Commander, he has assured of bringing not less than 800 police people officers there.

“So, if we are bringing 800 and the place has 99 polling stations, it means that one polling station may have an average of eight police people, so we are hoping that the security will be revamped, and we will have a peaceful election,” he added.

Speaking on Joy FM’s ‘Newsnight’ programme, Dr.Quaicoe explained that the expected number of men will be enough to maintain law and order at all polling stations.

He said the electoral management body is in constant touch with the police to ensure that this assurance is carried out successfully.

Dr.Quaicoe called on all stakeholders to do the needful in order to record an incident-free election by close of poll.

“So, we are already in contact with them, discussing the way the election will be conducted peacefully, and we also appeal to all stakeholders to do the right thing and do what they are supposed to do so that they do not infringe on the law or have an issue to do with the law after the by-election. It will not be in anybody’s interest,” he added.

Meanwhile, the order by the IGP, issued yesterday Monday June 26, said the officers are not to carry their rifles with them less than 24 hours to the poll.

The directive followed a crunch meeting between leadership of the Ghana Police Service and the political parties, as well as the EC yesterday.

The IGP, who led the police at the meeting, issued the directive to the bodyguards immediately after the encounter, asking them to submit the weapons to the armory of the nearest police station within the Assin North constituency.

They are also alternatively to submit the weapons to the Police Election Command Centre at Assin Breku.

“Such weapons can only be collected after the election and upon specific directives to do so,” the IGP stated, in a correspondence to the bodyguards.

“Bodyguards are not to carry their sidearms (pistols) to polling stations and collation centres,” he further directed.

According to him, “Punitive action shall be taken against anyone who disregards this instruction or fails to comply with this directive issued by the Inspector General of Police.”

But some NDC MPs have kicked against the directive, insisting the order will expose their members to “greater danger.”

The MP for South Dayi, Rockson Nelson Deafeamekpor, who raised the objection, told the media that it appears the directive is targeted at only minority MPs because he saw bodyguards of some of his colleagues on the majority side holding weapons during the NPP’s final rally.

He claimed, he saw a number of these bodyguards holding more than one gun, citing the majority leader’s bodyguard as an example.

Four parliamentary candidates have filed their nomination forms to contest the race.

On the ballot, the New Patriotic Party (NPP) candidate, Charles Opoku is first sheet.

A candidate on the ticket of the Liberal Party of Ghana, Bernice Enyonam Sefanu, is second, while the National Democratic Congress’ James Gyakye Quayson is third.

An independent candidate, Agartha Abaidoo, is the fourth person on the ballot sheet, but she is alleged to have pulled out.

The various candidates have currently intensified their campaigns in various communities. Bigwigs of the two main political parties, as well as the media, have pitched camp at the area, monitoring every activity.

Many of the politicians, especially Members of Parliament (MPs) and executives of the two political parties, according to reports, are to serve as election observers and polling station agents.

Meanwhile, the Coalition of Domestic Election Observers (CODEO) has said it is deploying 15 observers for the by-election.

The deployment, according to CODEO, is in part fulfilment of its mandate to mobilise citizens of Ghana to actively participate in the electoral process and to complement the efforts of the Electoral Commission in ensuring transparent, free, fair and peaceful elections

A statement issued by the coalition said 13 of the observers will be deployed to 13 polling stations within 12 purposefully selected electoral areas, while the two others will be roaming observers on Election Day, with one of them observing proceedings at the collation centre.

“They will observe the polling station set-up, voting and counting procedures, and also file reports on any incidents they observe throughout the day,” the statement said.

Three candidates are contesting the seat, declared vacant by the Electoral Commission after the Supreme Court annulled the election of Mr. James Gyakye Quayson of the National Democratic Congress in the 2020 elections.

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