A FORMER National Security Co-ordinator, Mr Kofi Bentum Quantson, has asked law enforcement agencies to deal decisively with reported cases of infractions in the election registration process or risk a “culture of impunity” that could threaten the peace of the country.
He also asked politicians to recognise that they risked having no “spoils” at the end of the elections if they condoned the improper behaviour of their members and supporters.
In an interview wiht the Daily Graphic, Mr Quantson also charged the Electoral Commission (EC) to endeavour to uphold its image of efficiency.
“In the national interest, political parties must deal with their supporters who mess up the system, and assist the police to bring to book their fanatical supporters,” he added.
He said the electoral laws of the country had enough provisions to deal with lawlessness, and that what was lacking was the enforcement of the laws.
His call comes a few days to the close of a voter registration exercise characterised by reports of irregularities and disturbances at some registration sites.
“It is imperative that the burgeoning lawlessness be addressed vigorously. Already a dangerous culture of criminal impunity is taking firm root and unless the people involved are immediately identified and promptly prosecuted in a transparent way, more trouble should be expected,” he told the Daily Graphic.
He said reports of parties encouraging the registration of minors and disturbances at registration centres, among other reports, were of a criminal nature and subversive to the peace and progress of the nation.
He said enforcing the laws and dealing decisively with infractions “should be the focused of the enforcement agencies. They should demonstrate clear neutrality and integrity. If they fail to do that the oversight institutions should hold the culprits to strict account.”
Mr Quantson mentioned the ministry responsible for the security agencies and the Ghana Police Council as the oversight institutions that had to bring to book security agencies when they failed in their duty.
“Without this no amount of sensitisation, admonition and sermonisation can serve any purpose,” he stated.
According to him, infractions of the electoral laws were often committed by several people; therefore, the security agencies in their duty of investigating and bringing the culprits to book had to get to the source of impunity by investigating not only the direct perpetrators but others closely linked to them.
Justice, he added, was a precondition for peace and that was why all security agents needed to be seen to be doing their work with integrity and transparency.
Mr Quantson, also a former Commissioner of Police in-charge of the Criminal Investigations Department, and one of the first directors of the Narcotics Control Board also asked civil society organisations and religious organisations to be abreast of advocacy to ensure that the right things were done.
He said there had to be “targeted condemnation” of those who infringed the law, particularly by religious leaders, instead of moral platitudes and sermonisations.
By targeted condemnation, he meant clearly identifying culprits by name and publicly shaming them instead of resorting to diplomacy.
He added that civil society organisations, religious leaders and other independent groups, needed to police the police and malfeasance in the country to deal with the hydra-headed problem that had the potential of affecting the nation.
DAILY GRAPHIC, SATURDAY, AUGUST 9, 2008