GAF worried over rising political temperature ( June 29, 2016 )

The Ghana Armed Forces (GAF) say they are ready to do whatever it will take to keep the country in one piece and not allow chaos to reign as Ghana prepares to go to the polls on November 7.
Expressing worry over what he described as the uncomfortable increasing political temperature ahead of the general election at a media encounter in Accra yesterday, the Chief of the Defence Staff (CDS), Air Marshall Michael Samson-Oje, said the election would not descend into any chaos.
 
Before the media encounter, Air Marshall Samson-Oje held a closed-door meeting with the Executive of the Ghana Journalists Association (GJA).

Hot media discussions 
The CDS said his observation of the political and security situation was partly informed by discussions on the mainstream media and social media.

“In fact, the military should be sleeping, but you are still keeping us awake. So what are the lessons learnt over the period? That is our concern. Seven elections are not easy,” he added.

Air Marshall Samson-Oje, however, said the military was in constant touch with the police hierarchy as the police engaged stakeholders on keeping the tension low.

Military’s approach 
He said the military would be the last resort should the security situation go beyond the strength of the police and other security services.
“The military will always be on stand-by, and when the police and other security agencies find it difficult to maintain law and order or if they anticipate that the situation will degenerate further to the extent that they will not be able to contain it, the military will be called upon and we shall react appropriately,” he stated.

Role of media 
With the media accused of fuelling the tension that characterises the country’s elections, Air Marshal Samson-Oje observed that “if the media play their role effectively and efficiently, devoid of any political leanings, there will be peace in this country”.

“When we meet during our briefings, we discuss these issues and we realise that each time it goes a notch higher,” he added.

Don’t rock the boat 
The President of the GJA, Mr Roland Affail Monnie, stated that both the media and the military had a responsibility to save the country from degenerating into chaos or violence.

“We have a responsibility not to rock the boat but maintain the peace of this nation,” he said, adding that it meant writing stories in a manner that would prevent conflicts.

“Once s conflict starts, no one knows the magnitude it will assume or how it will end. So as we inch towards Election 2016,  let us give our best in terms of electoral journalism. We should think through the consequences and weigh the implications of whatever we say on radio or write in the print media,” he urged.

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