Police are in charge of election policing – DCOP Mensah
Accra – Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCOP) George Alex Mensah, the Director-General in-charge of Police Operations at the Ghana Police Service has stated that the Police has oversight responsibility to supervise election policing in the country.
He said when it comes to election matters all the various security forces which constitute the Election Task Force were under the command of the Police.
Giving testimony at the Commission of Inquiry on the Ayawaso West Wuogon by-election violence on Friday, DCOP Mensah said the Police had done its best to control vigilantism in the country; saying our outfit has moved to make some arrests, prepared dockets and arraigned perpetrators before courts.
He said to curb the menace of vigilantism, the Inspector General of Police (IGP) had appealed to political parties to denounce political vigilantism in the country.
The DCOP Mensah told the Commission that, as the Director-General in-charge of Operations, his duty was to superintend all police operations in the country, which he does.
Responding to a question from Mr Eric Osei Mensah, Lawyer for the Commission whether he was aware of the presence of the national security officers and the masked men, he denied knowledge of the masked men, stressing that, they were not part of his men deployed for the bye-election exercise.
I heard of the masked men on air, I don’t know who the masked men were. I will be surprised that they were members of the SWAT (Special Weapons and Tactics) because the vehicle is not part of those under my command and the police have never used that type of vehicle before. he said.
Asked by the Commission’s Counsel whether there was break in security order at the by-elections, he responded in the negative, saying as far as he was concerned, the operation order for the by-election was prepared from the police headquarters.
He stated that, as part of their operational order, other sister security agencies may be invited for reinforcement only when they were needed and would be told their terms of reference.
No other unit took part in the election policing, if any other unit participated, that I don’t know of, he said.
Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) George L. Asare, East Legon Police District Commander, revealed to the Commission that he wasn’t part of the Election Task Force in the bye-election.
I was asked to stay aside and my command pickup vehicle was taken away from me. I was asked to bring it to the Accra Region, DSP Asare told the three-member Commission of Inquiry.
DSP Asare told the Commission that, the District Commanders of East Legon and Legon Police Stations were not part of the security operations for the by-election.
He said he got to know of the outbreak of the violence through a phone call from the Accra Region Commander and he immediately mobilised his men to the scene.
DSP Asare said when he got to the scene of the violence, he saw about 20 or more used cartridges in the hands of some people at the place.
Narrating what transpired, DSP Asare said the incident began after the security personnel engaged some persons in front of the NDC’s candidate residence and asked them why they were there.
He said the security personnel further asked why there were motorbikes packed in front of the house.
In the course of the interrogation, he said the security personnel attempted to take one of the motorbikes but the people there stopped them, leading to the outbreak of the violence.
He told the Commission that seven suspects were taken to the East Legon Police Station, two of which had sustained minor injuries, and that, they were later released to seek medical attention.
The Commission was set up President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo to conduct a far-reaching investigation into the violence to sustain the peace of the country.
It is under the Chairmanship of Mr Francis Emile Short, a Former Commissioner of the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice.
Other members of are Professor Henrietta Mensah-Bonsu, an Eminent Professor in Criminal Law and Patrick K. Acheampong, Former IGP, with Dr Ernest Kofi Abotsi, a legal Practitioner and a former Dean of GIMPA Law School as secretary.
The commission began its public hearing on February 14, and its expected to complete its work in one month.
Sitting has been adjourned to Monday February 18.
Source: Ghana News Agency