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Ghana Police to Launch Media Campaign

  • Peter Clottey

A Ghana policeman watches Egypt's football team's practice in Kumasi, 23 January 2008, during the African Cup of Nations football championship.

A Ghana policeman watches Egypt's football team's practice in Kumasi, 23 January 2008, during the African Cup of Nations football championship.

Ghana’s police are scheduled to launch a nationwide media campaign Monday to address concerns expressed by prospective voters ahead of the December 7 polls for president, parliament and local representatives.

“We are looking at how to educate the general public on issues of security, and it is in this that the communication team has comes up with a comprehensive program to engage the public through the media. This is what we are launching today,” said Cephas Arthur, spokesman for the police.

He said the campaign is part of police efforts to bolster security in the run up to the polls.

The police media campaign, Arthur said will begin at Radio XYZ FM, a VOA affiliate station in the capital, Accra.

“We are going to explain our operations, our preparations for them and then give the assurance that the police are doing everything possible to ensure that we [provide] maximum protection, and a congenial atmosphere,” Arthur said.

Several civil and religious groups have called on the police to help prevent acts that could create tension and violence. Some members of the opposition have expressed concern that their supporters have been attacked, harassed, and intimidated by unknown assailants as parties intensify their campaigns.

Arthur said that the police are prepared and properly equipped to ensure the December vote is peaceful.

“The police are not leaving any stone unturned in its bid to ensure that we are able to provide security for the election,” he said.

Arthur said the campaign will also work with political parties to help ensure a peaceful vote.

"[The effort] encompasses all segments of society: political parties, the general public, NGOs and civil society groups. We are even dealing with the eminent groups and leaders in the country all in our bid to foster common ground for ensuring a peaceful election. So, there isn’t any cause for alarm,” Arthur said.

“We have a special program every election time that we have in place to meet the political parties to jaw-jaw and to discuss issues and to put the cards on the table so that we come together, identify problems and then solve [them] in order to create a peaceful environment for our people to go to the polls and vote.”

He also said that the police will not allow political parties to use of “machomen” (body guards) to protect supporters during campaigning or at the polls. Some political parties have accused each other of using them to intimidate and harass opponents.

“I must emphasize that we don’t recognize machomen as any security agency or grouping,” said Arthur. “There are measures in place to deal with any such [groups]. The police are capable of providing security. We don’t do this alone. We do it with our sister security agencies like the military, prisons and fire service.”