The government does not intend to ban the use of social media on election day, the Interior Minister, Mr Prosper Douglas Bani, has stated.
He also said the government had no plans to disrupt social media before, during and after the general election.
“I have had the occasion to clarify with the IGP on his out-of-context report on social media and I would like to emphasise that as of today, and within the context of the upcoming elections, neither the government nor any of the security agencies has plans to disrupt social media during this year’s elections,” Mr Bani told a joint high-level delegation from the United Nations (UN), the African Union (AU) and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) that called on him in Accra yesterday.
Mr Bani’s assurance comes in the wake of pronouncements by the Inspector General of Police (IGP), Mr John Kudalor, that the police might consider banning the use of social media on election day.
That pronouncement has since attracted mixed reactions from the public and some civil society organisations (CSO).
Members of the delegation were the UN Secretary General’s representative for West Africa and the Sahel, Dr Mohammed Ibn Chambas; the President of ECOWAS, Mr Marcel Alain de Souza; the ECOWAS Commissioner for Political Affairs, Peace and Security, Mrs Halima Ahmed, and AU Commissioner for Political Affairs, Dr Aisha Laraba Abdullahi.
The team is in the country to find out the views and perspectives of Ghanaian stakeholders on political, technical, legal and security developments ahead of the presidential and parliamentary elections.
It will also dialogue with the stakeholders to reach consensus on critical issues as a way of contributing to credible and peaceful elections.
Mr Bani, however, said any individual or group which went against the laws of the country would be dealt with accordingly, as defined by the law.
Throwing light on some security measures that had been instituted to ensure maximum security before, during and after the elections, he said contesting presidential candidates and their running mates had been provided with police escorts to ensure their safety.
On vigilante groups, he said, “I have had the occasion to indicate that those groups are illegal formations. They are not registered, neither are they aligned to any security forces, hence should there be any act of violence during the elections, individuals will be arrested and dealt with as individuals because we don’t have any data recognising them.”
Mr Bani commended the international community for its support towards consolidating Ghana’s democracy.
Dr Ibn Chambas
On behalf of the delegation, Dr Chambas applauded the Electoral Commission (EC) for re-registering individuals whose names were expunged from the voters register because they had used National Health Insurance Scheme cards as proof of their citizenship during registration.
He said the international community would send observers to assess the electoral process before, during and after the elections on December 7.