A security analyst, Adam Bonah, has said that the country’s National Security setup cannot include a taskforce separate from the police and military after questions were raised about the role of masked officers said to be state security personnel at the Ayawaso West Wuogon by-election.
Speaking on the Citi Breakfast Show, Mr Bonah expressed his apprehension that the officers were allowed to operate as an official security taskforce, as the Constitution mandates National0 Security to have just two security teams.
He also spoke of his concern over the fact that these officers appeared to be armed with new weapons, despite the National Security does not have an armoury.
“The truth is that they didn’t have the mandate to go in there. From what I know, the law hasn’t changed. National Security has no locus or mandate to keep a standby force. They don’t have an armoury. If you just review the pictures and videos, those firearms they carried are brand new.
“Where did they get them from? Do we have a paramilitary or we have a third force apart from the police and the military? These are the two organs who must take care of some of these things. It’s necessary for us to know thatthe 1992 Constitution states what the National Security Council states what are supposed to be doing.
He added that on a scale of one to ten, he would “rate the incident at Ayawaso West Wuogon nine” in terms of the level of concern.
Violence marred last Friday’s election at Ayawaso West Wuogon with several reports indicating that several people were injured in the clashes while gunshots were heard at the La Bawaleshie polling centre.
The heavy presence of security at polling stations for the by-election was a point of worry for some observers including the Coalition of Domestic Election Observers (CODEO) who raised concerns of the intimidation of voters.
The Minister of State in charge of National Security, Bryan Acheampong, denied those assertions stating that the officers were sanctioned by the state.
He said the deployment of security personnel described by onlookers as intimidating was “standard to all by-elections that I have been.”
“Every deployment is based on the information that you receive and so you deploy in preparedness for the information that you have. Whether they are in masks, they are in slippers, they are plain clothes, it doesn’t matter. You need to protect the public.”
President of Policy think-tank Imani Africa, Frankling Cudjoe was scathing in his assessment of the security arrangements for the by-election.
Mr. Cudjoe said the presence of the masked officers as a blight on the integrity of the election.
“To suggest that the elections were not in dispute or where smooth is also another indictment. If those men were sent to the parliamentary candidate’s house, what it meant was that he was not able to get out and vote and don’t forget he is the parliamentary candidate.”
“When a crime is committed in someone’s house, you don’t send hooded people. Hooded people are like armed robbers.”
He added that the incident was an embarrassment to President Nana Akufo-Addo, under whose government a new Yaa-Naa was enskinned at Dagbon.
“It is an indictment and the security also disgraced the President as well. Just last week he was in Dagbon doing something noble but all of a sudden, someone should do this needless action.”
The NDC withdrew from the Ayawaso West Wuogon by-election following the shooting incident and ordered its polling agents and observers from the area.
The Member of Parliament for Ningo Prampram, Samuel Nartey George, was also at the wrong end of some security personnel as he was seen being struck in the face by two security personnel in a viral video.
Mr. Acheampong also assured that the assault on the MP would be investigated.
The widow of the late MP for Ayawaso West Wuogon, Lydia Alhassan, emerged victorious in the poll with 12, 041 votes representing 68.30%.
Despite the boycott, the NDC’s Delali Kwasi Brempong polled 5, 341 votes representing 30.52% whiles William Dowokpor of the Progressive People’s Party (PPP) and Clement Boadi of the Liberal Party of Ghana both polled 102 and 17 votes respectively.
By: Edwin Kwakofi |citinewsroom.com | Ghana | email@example.com
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