We will protect nationals and not criminals -CDS
The Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), Lieutenant General Obed Boamah Akwa, has sent a strong signal to bandits and miscreants who may want to foment trouble before, during and after the general elections that they would be dealt with ruthlessly.
According to him, although it is within the mandate of the of the joint security forces to protect the nationals, no such help will cover criminals.
This, he promised, will be done by enforcing discipline with professionalism and with dedication of personnel.
Lt Gen Akwa gave the caution after a route march titled ‘Exercise Tafiya Lafia,’ which means “stay in peace” in the Hausa language, through some principal streets of Accra yesterday.
“As peace officers, we have the mandate to protect our people and to protect the ballot, and [we] are approaching this election with peace,” he said.
In his address, he urged security personnel that as they all know what is ahead of them, he was convinced that they were prepared for the job, stressing: “We are going to be impartial and not to take sides, and we are going to ensure that whatever we do, our professionalism will stand.”
The CDS explained that the personnel were to protect by the application of the law and operating within its framework, saying, “we are not applying the law when we are breaking the law.”
According to him, when a civilian deviates from the norm and needs to be arrested, he or she must be arrested within the confines and engagement in the service rules.
He reiterated that “We do not carry out these exercises to intimidate anybody. We also sound a note of warning to whoever has the intention in fomenting trouble, now, on the day of the elections, and after the elections, must think twice because we are going to deal with that person.”
Being critical of how persons conduct themselves, he warned against impersonation, as on the day of election anyone who does not belong to the Police, Army, Fire Service, and Immigration Service among others to stay off the business of protecting or providing security.
He added: “Security is the core responsibility of the agencies that have been mentioned …If you do that we would deal with you.”
He appealed to the citizens that the security services were prepared to deal with any eventuality, since they are determined to protect the ballot and to protect Ghanaian citizens and resident alike.
The exercise, Tafiya Lafia’s main objective is to demonstrate that the security services will create that atmosphere of peace and tranquility within which voters can cast their ballot, and also demonstrate the willingness and ability of the security services to nip in the bud any miscreant who will want to disrupt this election.