Police Will “Deal With Machomen At Polling Stations”-DCOP Bedie

The police will deal with “machomen” who claim to be providing protection to politicians at polling stations in the December polls. This is because their activities are illegal and will not be allowed to intimidate electorates on Election Day, Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCOP) Alex Bedie, Volta Regional Police Commander said on Friday. He was addressing a two-day capacity building workshop for staff of the Ghana News Agency for Election 2012 monitoring and coverage. The workshop, under the auspices of STAR-Ghana, a multi donor funding mechanism, is on the theme, “Upgrading GNA’s Human Capital for In-depth Coverage and Beyond” in Ho. Mr Bedie said the police were prepared to provide protection and ensure the safety of everyone at polling stations and urged politicians to refrain from engaging “machomen”. Mr Bedie said the police had learnt lessons from past elections and were not leaving anything to chance in the December polls. “We are going to be on top of all issues and we expect everyone to abide by the rules and regulations for a peaceful election,” he said. Mr Bedie said should everyone go by the rules, the police might not be needed everywhere on the Election Day. He urged media practitioners to cooperate with the police and electoral officers at polling stations for mutual benefit. Mr Bedie said the police would organise workshops and orientations to its personnel on the media to enhance police media relations. Madam Laurentia Kpatakpa, Volta Regional Director of the Electoral Commission (EC), said the Commission expected the media to be circumspect, factual, objective and impartial to enhance the credibility of the December Polls. She advised media practitioners to desist from generalisation of issues and be conversant with electoral procedures and terms. Mr Henry Ford Kamel, Volta Regional Minister, commended media practitioners in the Region for the mature manner in which they managed information on the misunderstanding at Hohoe and expressed the hope that the December Elections would be handled in like manner. He urged the media to “sieve” comments by politicians which could plunge the country into turmoil. “Use your professional judgement to sieve information by politicians to ensure peace. It is not everything we say that is good for public consumption,” Mr Kamel said. Mr Mawusi Afele, Acting General Manger of the Ghana News Agency, said though the responsibility on the Agency was huge, it would not let the country down. Mr Charles Mawusi, Technical Adviser, Media and Communication of STAR-Ghana, said the organisation was supporting GNA due to its credibility. STAR-Ghana is a multi- donor pooled funding mechanism (funded by DFID, DANIDA, EU and USAID) to increase the influence of civil society and Parliament in the governance of public goods and service delivery, with the ultimate goal of improving the accountability and responsiveness of Ghana’s government, traditional authorities and the private sector.