WANEP calls attention to security threats

BY: Samuel K. Obour

Mohammed Alhassan, Police IGPThe West Africa Network for Peacebuilding (WANEP-Ghana) has called on stakeholders in the election petition to refrain from statements that will incite their supporters to violence when the Supreme Court pronounces its ruling.

While commending both the petitioners and the respondents for choosing the court process to resolve election grievances, it advised the parties and other stakeholders to intensify efforts at educating political party supporters and the public to eschew violence after the court had delivered its ruling.

WANEP-Ghana, which has been monitoring activities through its National Early Warning System, known as GHANAWARN, in a press statement signed by its National Co-ordinator, Mr Justin Bayor, said a number of human security threats had been identified from April to June, this year, which demanded immediate attention.

It said they included increasing violent attacks, disaster-related incidents, armed robbery cases, as well as political and governance-related issues.

With particular reference to the election petition, it said there was still anxiety in the country over the petition, adding that the citizenry was anxious and uncertain over the stability of the country when the Supreme Court announced its judgement.

"Conflict and political analysts are of the opinion that there may emerge pockets of violence, some of which may be between factions of the many unresolved conflicts in the country. These opinions have been enhanced by increased fire outbreaks that occurred, especially between April and June, 2013.

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"The outbreaks occurred in similar fashion, times and places that many were forced to ponder and conclude that they were deliberate acts of sabotage. It is a further indicator that some nationally-minded processes or events such as the election petition or court pronouncement over the petition may be used as an opportunity to create other forms of insecurity in the country," the statement said.

It noted with concern the peace and security implications of commentaries and statements about the Supreme Court's proceedings in the media and the reactions of  the court, as well as the recurrence of land  and chieftaincy communal violence.

“These are fuelling anxiety in society and point to the fact that the structural issues of conflict in the country are yet to be concretely addressed by all stakeholders,” it observed.

While noting that the reaction of the Supreme Court to news commentaries and publications on the proceedings of the petition had brought some quiet in the media and somehow reduced the use of intemperate language on the airwaves, the statement warned that the situation was likely to resurface and probably in a worse form once the ruling was pronounced.

It, therefore, appealed to the National Media Commission to increase its task of monitoring the media for misconduct.

As part of its recommendations, WANEP-Ghana appealed to the enforcement bodies, such as the judiciary and the police, to be firm and fair in dealing with individuals and groups which might want to destabilise the present relative peace of the country.

It called for increased security patrols and strict enforcement of the law to prevent further incidents of homicide and armed robbery.

It further appealed to Ghanaians to be vigilant and assist the police by reporting appropriately any incident they observed and by so doing contribute to the prevention of violence in the country.