The Chairman of the National Election Security Taskforce, James Oppong-Boanuh has urged media practitioners and commentators to verify and validate the information from the appropriate channels before disseminating them in the upcoming election.
This, he said, was to avoid unnecessary tension that may spark from misinformation, false or fake news.
Addressing the media on security matters towards the December polls, the chairman, who also doubles as the Inspector General of Police (IGP), indicated that on election day, December 7, 2020, and the period before declaration of results by the Electoral Commission (EC), it would operate centres which would be called Joint Operation Centres (JOCs) at the national, regional and district levels. “These are situational rooms which will have monitoring teams.”
Oppong-Boanuh said that, “As we have done in the past, some civil society groups will be allowed space to the JOCs to work with us in monitoring and clarifying issues. As election day approaches, we will put out channels for channels for verification of security information.”
The IGP announced that 62,794 security personnel would be deployed to ensure peace and order.
He explained that the security personnel would consist of the Ghana Police Service, Ghana Fire Service, Ghana Prisons Service, Ghana Immigration Service, Customs Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority, and the Ghana Armed Forces.
On arrest and prosecution of offenders, he stated that his outfit has a deep commitment to preventing crimes from happening, but where they happen, the police would arrest offenders, investigate to gather the necessary evidence, and get them prosecuted.
He commented that Ghana Police Service has recorded 204 incidents of violence in the recently held voters’ registration exercise conducted by the EC ahead of the December 2020 general elections. “120 of the 204 identified cases are currently under investigation.”
The Head of the National Elections Security Taskforce, Deputy Commissioners of Police (DCOP) Edward Tabiri said that 310 persons have so far been arrested, with close to 20 persons charged for trying to foment trouble during the registration exercise.
“We have so far convicted close to 20 people, but then not all of them have been jailed. There are some that are made to pay fines determined by the courts and let go. On some occasions, we consult the Attorney-General for advice,” he indicated.
DCOP Tabiri, who is also the Director-General of the Police Intelligence Department of the Ghana Police Service, implored Ghanaians to assist the police with relevant information to aid investigations into these violent cases.
On the delay in cases, he indicated that “The reason for the delay in the cases that come before us is that most people are unwilling to assist us with further information to aid in investigations after reporting such incidents to us. It is one thing reporting the case and another assisting us in investigations. There are some who also tend to resolve the cases among themselves.”