2020 polls: Proactive measures taken to deal with threats – National Security Minister
The country’s security apparatus is ready to quash any activities that will undermine peace before, during, and after the December 7 elections, the Minister of National Security, Albert Kan Dapaah, has assured.
The minister told parliament on Thursday, November 5, elaborate measures undertaken through proactive activities to protect the state.
Being the first time to have a separate ministry of its own, a national security plan has been developed to serve as a guide.
The minister is, therefore, said he was expecting minimum violence when citizens hit the polls to elect a president and new legislators to govern the country for the next four years.
“It will be the first documented National Security [Strategy] since Ghana attained independence. The strategy identifies current and future security threats and outlines measures to address the effects to safeguard the peace and stability of the country, using a whole of government and society approach,” he stated.
The strategy was developed with contributions from legislators and the various state security institutions.
“The preparation of this document saw members of both sides of the House and members in civil societies, academia and also in non-state institutions coming together to develop a document which we believe is acceptable to any document that comes into being in Ghana.
“The proactive rather than the reactive nature of these measures means that the security agencies are prepared to confront the threat of terrorism and indeed any form of emerging security threat in the foreseeable future to make Ghana a safe country,” he stressed.
Ghanaians sit on a knife’s edge in election years as concerns over electoral violence increase because of isolated skirmishes between supporters of the two major parties–the New Patriotic Party (NPP) and the National Democratic Congress (NDC).
The most recent is that clash between supporters of the NDC and the NPP in the Odododiodio constituency in the Greater Accra Region leading to more than a dozen injuries.
Before then, the registration processes for a new register recorded multiples of attacks at various locations.
The Steps to Christ registration centre in the Awutu Senya East constituency in the Central Region was turned into a battleground.
Member of Parliament for the area, Mavis Hawa Koomson, admitted firing gunshots ostensibly to scare a group of people alleged to have stormed the centre to cause chaos.
The incident led to the burning of about four motorbikes at the registration centre.
The Ayawaso West by-election that took place on January 31, 2019, was a sign of what could happen in a major election.
Violence erupted at the La-Bawaleshie polling station two hours after the election had started. No casualty was recorded.
Prampram MP Sam George was assaulted, and gunshots wounded 18 people.
62, 794 security for 2020 polls
Meanwhile 62, 794 joint security is expected to be deployed for a 30,000 population with 16.9 people expected to cast their ballot based on provisional figures from the EC.
They are drawn from the Ghana Police Service, the Ghana Armed Forces, Customs Division and the Ghana Immigration Service. Personnel from the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) and the Bureau of National Investigations (BNI) will also be involved.
The areas with heightened security would be the 6,1 78 flashpoints identified across the 16 regions.
The flashpoints have increased over the years.
There are discussions to factor distribution of ballot papers using helicopters to cut the long journeys and delays in getting the materials on time at hard-to-reach areas.
Printing of the ballot papers is underway with notice of polls displayed.
Political parties are waiting for their copies of the final register as campaigns intensify.