An impartial police force that has the confidence and trust of the citizenry is crucial to ensuring a peaceful and successful election, Mr Kwesi Jonah, Senior Research Fellow, Institute for Democratic Governance (IDEG) has said.
“This should be complemented by objective and responsible media reportage, as well as a well-educated populace, which would largely not easily get drawn into political violence,” Mr Jonah told the Ghana News Agency in an interview.
He said some incidents during the voter registration exercise indicated that there was the potential for political violence before, during and after December General Elections.
“The signs are not looking very good,” he said.
He said although there was a law that prohibited political party vigilantism, political violence could show up in other forms.
Mr Jonah said a dependable and trustworthy police force was most needed for a successful election.
He said the police had to work closely with the civilian populace, adding, “the police must be able to act promptly on situations.”
Mr Jonah said the police should be seen as neutral by all and sundry, to have the complete trust of the citizenry.
He said it was also the responsibility of politicians to ensure that there was no undue interference in the work of the police, or any cause for police personnel to believe, that they had to please any authority to avoid victimization.
Mr Jonah said the media, especially bloggers, needed serious training on the need to be responsible and sensitive to the overall need of the nation to remain in one piece, and continue to develop, once the election was over.
The IDEG Senior research fellow said well-meaning individuals and bodies such as Civil Society Organizations, had to intensify education among the citizenry on the need for peace, adding that the education had to be sustained from now until the election was over.
He said the National Election Security Task Force also had to be well resourced to perform its mandate effectively.
Whilst Ghana has successfully held general elections since 1992, these elections are without unpleasant incidents that often threaten the nation’s peace and development.