The Police Service says it is concerned about the growing reports of violence at some centres in the ongoing voter registration exercise.
In a statement on Wednesday, it indicated that some of these acts of violence have been occasioned by the activities of politicians who move to registration centres in groups claiming that they are familiarizing themselves with the process.
It said politicians must “stop the unwarranted movement to/at Voters Registration Centres” and also “the busing of people or blockage of routes to such Centres.”
The police in the statement said it is investigating every complaint of violence reported at various registration centres and will duly ensure that those found guilty are brought to book.
“The Administration wishes to state that every complaint of violence reported to Police is being investigated with some already in Court. Due process will be followed in all the cases.”
The Police’s statement comes after several reports of confusion and violence at some registration centres across the country often instigated by political actors.
In an instance at Banda-Ahenkro in the Bono region, a young man was killed.
Mavis Hawa Koomson , the Member of Parliament for Awutu Senya East Constituency in the Central Region and also the Minister for Special Development Initiatives admitted on Monday to firing a gunshots in self-defence when confusion broke at a registration centre she visited.
Her action has received widespread criticisms from the public with some people calling for her resignation and prosecution, although some members of her party have said such calls are unnecessary.
The police have also been accused of failing to take action against her despite arresting four other civilians in connection with that incident.
But the police service insists on its impartiality to ensure that those who are found to have fallen foul of the law are brought to book.
“Any person or group of persons, political or not, who has been arrested or will be arrested will face the consequence of the law, as far as police powers are concerned,” the police said in their statement.
Read the full police statement below:
1. The Police Administration is gravely concerned about reports of violence in the ongoing Voters Registration Exercise. The reports create tension, alarm, fear and insecurity among the populace. However, Police assures all that the necessary police actions have been taken or arc being taken to bring all culprits to book.
2. The Administration wishes to state that every complaint of violence reported to Police is being investigated with some already in Court. Due process will be followed in all the cases.
3. Further, the Police Administration observes that some of the acts of violence that have characterized the registration exercise are attributable to movement of politicians to Registration Centres in groups, under the guise of familiarizing themselves with the process or responding to calls of illegal actions from party representatives assigned to the Centres. Other factors are the blockage of routes to Registration Centres and allegations of busing or transporting of applicants from one Electoral Area to the other. These acts have also resulted in physical and verbal attacks on Registration Officials.
4. All persons are therefore reminded that per the Public Elections (Registration of Voters) Regulations, 2016 (C.I. 91), persons and groups outside the list provided under regulation 10 are barred from entering any Registration Centre. Also, a person who disrupts proceedings at a Registration Centre or in any way interferes with the work of an official connected with registration of voters commits an offence.
5. The public are further reminded that threat or intimidation by a person to further that person’s interest or an affiliate related to a political party or office holder among others also amount to offence under the Vigilantism and Related Offences Act, 209 (Act 999).
6. Political actors, individuals and groups are advised to stop unwarranted movement to /at Voters Registration Centres, the busing of people or blockage of routes to such Centres. Those who claim to receive calls or reports of illegality from representatives assigned to Registration Centres should promptly contact local Police Officers for action, instead of proceeding to the Centres. Their presence contributes to the alleged illegality.
7. The Police Administration finally cautions all to adhere to the rules and regulations laid down for the registration exercise, including following the EC’s challenge procedure for ineligibility. Any person or group of persons, political or not, who has been arrested or will be arrested will face the consequence of the law, as far as police powers are concerned.