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Politics of Monday, 10 November 2008

Source: GNA

Security Personnel reminded of their limits on election day

Ho, Nov. 10, GNA - Ms Laurencia Kpatakpa, Volta Regional Electoral Officer on Monday reminded security personnel on election duty that their role would be limited to providing security to the process, personnel and materials. They would be expected to act on instructions by the Presiding Officers but 'not to take part in the actual administrations of the elections".

Ms Kpatakpa made these clarifications at a workshop christened "Exercise Peace Angel" for top security personnel in the region to brainstorm on security strategies during the December 7, elections. As part of their preparations, the security agencies would undertake mock exercises on November 16 in two constituencies based on some scenarios to test their preparedness to deal with real security challenges that might arise on the elections day. She urged security personnel to be team players on that day and only use minimum force when necessary for peace to prevail. Outlining some of the duties of the security on Election Day, Ms Kpatakpa asked them to secure election materials before and after the elections, escort ballot boxes to their final destinations and ensure that voters' queues were orderly.

Volta Regional Police Commander, Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCOP) Bernard Dery and Chairman of the Regional Election Security Task Force said the necessary security arrangements and training were being made to ensure violent free elections in the region. He said 95 per cent pre-election security arrangements had been done in the region.

Mr Dery said such arrangements included post election measures. He said 300 flash points have been identified in the region, which has so far not witnessed any major clashes because of the security arrangements on the ground.

Mr Dery observed that the stakes in this year's elections were high and urged the media to consider the national interest first rather than their individual and organizational interests. Mr Dery urged security personnel deployed to polling stations not to go there drunk to ensure that they were not overwhelmed by events. "Don't go there drunk and become problem for others to manage," he said.

He also called on political parties to co-operate and collaborate with the police to ensure that they carried out their activities in peace. Lieutenant Colonel Emmanuel Kotia, Commanding Officer of 66 Artillery Regiment (Volta Barracks) who took the participants through the operational outline of the workshop said the Military would not be directly involved in providing security during the elections. He said the military would only go to the assistance of the police if the police requested such support.

He reiterated the need for security personnel to be impartial at the polling stations to win the confidence and trust of all stakeholders.

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