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General News of Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Source: Daily Graphic

Election 2012: Police identifies over 1,000 flashpoints

More than 1,000 flashpoints throughout the country, where there are likely to be some disturbances during the December 7 elections, have been identified by the Ghana Police Service.

However, the police have given an assurance that security in those areas will be beefed up to ensure peaceful elections.

Effective patrolling by both police and military personnel will also be carried out in the polling stations in those areas to ensure that voters exercise their franchise in a peaceful environment.

The Inspector-General of Police (IGP), Mr Paul Tawiah Quaye, who disclosed this to the Daily Graphic in an interview in Accra Tuesday said in developing plans for the provision of security during elections, the police always ensured that every polling station in the country would have at least one security man on duty on the day of the elections.

He indicated that within the Greater Accra Region alone, over 300 polling stations had been identified as areas where there was likely to be some disturbances.

Although the Police Administration did not name the constituencies where the flashpoints were located, the trend over the last five elections indicates that the Odododiodoo, Ashaiman and Okaikoi Central constituencies in the Greater Accra Region; Akwatia and Atiwa in the Eastern Region and Bawku Central in the Upper East Region could be some of the flashpoints.

Mr Quaye said the police service might either double or triple its presence in the identified potential volatile areas to police the ballot on election day.

Such an arrangement, he said, would depend on the perceived gravity of the volatile situation of the area.

"If the volatile situation turns to be high, patrol teams to those areas will be upgraded, while the Rapid Deployment Force will be put on standby to nip in the bud any disturbances by individuals or group of persons," he said.

About 20,000 security personnel are expected to be deployed to protect about 26,000 polling stations in the December 7 general election.

The IGP indicated that all the other security agencies in the country would be on standby to provide the needed security for all Ghanaians as they exercised their franchise during the elections.

He hinted that all security activities at the various polling stations would be linked up through a dedicated communications network, saying that would also help provide assistance and protection for every security man who would be deployed.

He said the attention of the whole world would be focused on Ghana once again on December 7 and the security agencies would leave no stone unturned to ensure that the country conducted peaceful elections.

The Executive Director of the West Africa Network for Peace-building, Mr Emmanuel Bombande, said the flashpoints in the country would be any community that had already had a conflict, whether chieftaincy, land or communal violence.

According to him, because there had been problems in those areas which had led to the destruction of lives and property, the elections could trigger violence there.

He, therefore, called on the security agencies to be firm and vigilant in order that the elections would not renew the conflicts in those areas.

He mentioned Bawku, Dagbon, Hohoe and Chereponi as some of the possible flashpoints.

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