The police administration has engaged the leaders of the two major parties on how best to defuse political tensions as part of efforts to maintain decorum on the country’s political landscape.
On Monday, April 17, 2023, the Ghana Police Service met with the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP) and the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) to discuss some political disagreements at the meeting called by the Inspector General of Police.
This was said in a statement issued by the Service after the engagement urging the parties to be decent in their operations.
“They should do their politics and allow the Police to do policing. We therefore called on them to support us including by criticizing us constructively to do a professional job in line with our constitutional mandate”, the Ghana Police Service mentioned in its release signed by its Director of Public Affairs, ACP Grace Ansah-Akrofi.
The meeting was necessitated by press statements issued by the parties and subsequently followed by petitions to the Police Service with each party calling on the Police to arrest certain individuals of the other side for some alleged offences.
There was a chance for both parties to express their complaints. Their main concern centered on remarks made by some political figures on both sides of the aisle that were deemed to be offensive.
Recently, the National Organizer of the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP), Henry Nana Boakye forwarded a petition to the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) for the arrest and prosecution of former President John Dramani Mahama over his ‘do-or-die’ comment.
Nana Boakye said Mr. Mahama needs to be arrested for inciting political violence.
He also indicated that the NPP has included the National Chairman of the NDC, Johnson Asiedu Nketiah in the petition for saying that the NDC will do everything within its power to win the 2024 elections even if they have to sacrifice their lives.
It came shortly after the NPP said it fully supported the comments by Abetifi lawmaker, Bryan Acheampong.
The MP had said, the NPP will not hand over power to the NDC if they win power in the 2024 general elections – a comment, the NDC finds incendiary for which reason they want the Mr. Acheampong who doubles as Food and Agriculture Minister arrested.
Some officials of the NDC also petitioned the CID to arrest and prosecute Mr. Acheampong over the incendiary comments.
Below is the full statement from the Police
1. The Police this afternoon met with the leadership of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) and the National Democratic Congress (NDC) at the National Police Headquarters in Accra.
2. The meeting which was called at the instance of the Inspector-General of Police was necessitated by press statements issued by the parties and subsequently followed by petitions to the Police Service with each party calling on the Police to arrest certain individuals of the other side for some alleged offences.
3. At the meeting, both parties were given the opportunity to air their grievances. The main issue raised by them was in respect to comments by some political actors from both sides of the divide considered to be inflammatory.
4. The Police also briefed them on two strategic interventions introduced by the Police Administration to handle the election and politically related incidents as part of the police transformation agenda.
5. The Police used the opportunity to provide an update on the status of political violence and related incidents recorded during the recent internal elections of both parties including;
6. The arrest and prosecution of some 14 members of the NPP for disturbances during their constituency election at Enchi and the arrest of 9 out of the 16 wanted individuals for disturbances at the national youth and women organizer polls of the NDC at Cape Coast.
7. An update was also provided on the status of the 2020 General Election-related cases including Techiman South and Odododiodioo constituencies and the public will be duly updated on these cases in the course of the week.
8. The first strategic intervention shared with them is the establishment of the Police Election Security Secretariat to work with all political parties and other stakeholders to enhance the management of security for all elections in the country.
9. This is a complete departure from the old order where an election security task force was put together just some months before the general elections.
10. Since its creation over a year ago, the Police Election Security Secretariat has worked with the various political parties in their respective internal elections from the polling station, through the constituency to the national executive elections.
11. The Secretariat is currently working with both parties on their parliamentary and presidential primaries.
12. The second intervention is the setting up of a dedicated legal team to subject all politically related incidents to legal scrutiny to establish whether there are elements of crime or otherwise before any Police action is taken. The Police will therefore not intervene in any situation where there is no criminality involved.
13. This is a paradigm shift from the practice in the past where people were arrested in the heat of the moment for politically related incidents as a result of attempts by politicians on either side to whip up public sentiments against the police thereby creating the impression that the Police supports one side against the other. In such instances when no concrete charges can be levelled against such people, they are eventually released thereby creating the impression in the public domain as though the police were manipulated in effecting their arrests.
14. This initiative has been used to analyze all recent cases such as comments made by the Hon. Minister of Food and Agriculture and the Constituency Youth Organizer for the NDC at Suame, among others.
15. At the meeting both parties were also urged that with these policing interventions in place, they should do their politics and allow the Police to do policing. We, therefore, called on them to support us including by criticizing us constructively to do a professional job in line with our constitutional mandate.
16. As we commend the leadership of the two political parties for availing themselves and contributing to the success of the meeting, we would like to call on Ghanaians to help us in our effort to build an independent Police service which will serve the greater good of the Ghanaian people and not the interest of any individual or group of people.
17. Once again, we wish to assure the public that we remain committed to ensuring peace, security, law and order in the country at all times including before, during and after all elections in the country.