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“Security Services are only to support, but not take over the functions of the electoral management body,” says Commandant of the KAIPTC

The Commandant of the Kofi Annan International Peace Training Centre (KAIPTC) in Accra, Ghana, Major General Francis Ofori has charged security services personnel to adapt to more robust and effective ways of dealing with electoral tensions and should any occur as the country goes to the polls in December.

According to him, the strategies used during electoral tensions or violence, have significant roles to play in the quest to achieve peace and security in the long run.

Major General Ofori gave the charge when he opened a course on Election Violence and Security in Tamale, for senior security personnel selected from the Northern Sector.

The five day course which follows similar ones held in Accra and Kumasi is being organized by the Kofi Annan International Peace Training Centre with funding from the German government.

The training focuses on exposing the various officers with command roles to; handling election related security issues and deployment during the upcoming December polls as well as ensuring peaceful transition in 2021.

Maj. Gen. Ofori noted that in established democracies, elections often do not generate conflicts, but emerging democracies have their own challenges and the situation is pronounced in West Africa where elections have triggered violence. As such, the KAIPTC Commandant said the potentials therefore impose responsibilities on them as security personnel in the country.

“In a few weeks, Ghana will be heading to the polls. The mandate to preserve the peace rests on all stakeholders particularly the security forces. Elections in all democracies create tension and often have the potentials for violence. The management of the tension makes a clear difference” he stated.

Maj. Gen. Ofori added the aim of the course therefore was to enhance capacity of the law enforcement agencies to prevent, manage and deal with all potential or perceived electoral violence before, during and after the 2020 presidential and parliamentary elections.

“The course provides information on some fundamental responsibilities of the police and other actors such as the military, immigration, customs, prisons and fire service in the support of the management of electoral processes and I dare say that we are not part of the electoral management body. We provide support to the enable them carry out their mandate.”

The Inspector General of Police, in a speech read for him by the Northern Regional Police commander C.o.P. Timothy Yoosa Bonga said since 1992, elections in the country although generally peaceful, had been characterized with tensions.

Some participants at the course

He commended the various security personnel for their interventions in handling some of those tensions, but added that once again, the hopes of the world are on Ghana in expectation that the country would go through peaceful polls.

As we head to 2020 there are expectations for us to fulfill our constitutional responsibilities of maintaining law and order as well as protecting life and property therefore the course could not have come at a better time, but now for the national duty ahead,” the IGP stated.

The security personnel will be taken through topics such as Conflict management, Leadership in Election Security Management, Human rights, Operational Order Management and Community Policing among others. 

Story By: Nelson Nyadror Adanuti

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