Election 2008: Did BNI conduct any poll?

A National Security source says it does not react to spurious newspaper reports and expressed surprise that the Civic Forum Initiative (CFI) had issued a statement based on a publication in a newspaper like “The Chronicle”.

The source told GNA that these organisations should have gone further to crosscheck whether indeed the Bureau of National Investigations (BNI) had conducted such a poll or had issued such a report in the first place, before reacting to it.

The GNA had asked the source to comment on a statement CFI allegedly issued on Tuesday.

In that statement the CFI expressed “grave concern” about a purported BNI poll on next Sunday’s election and said; “the content and timing of the alleged report are very disturbing”.

“The Chronicle” had reported that the BNI Poll indicated that the New Patriotic Party (NPP) would win in the first round of Election 2008.

CFI said: “Although the BNI has not publicly commented on the publication, ‘The Chronicle’ nevertheless identifies it as the source of the information,” a statement released by the Steering Committee of CFI for seven civic society organizations said.

They are Institute of Democratic Governance (IDEG); Ghana Anti-Corruption Coalition (GACC); African Security Dialogue & Research (ASDR); National Catholic Secretariat (NCS); West African Network for Peacebuilding (WANEP); Christian Council of Ghana (CCG) and International Centre for Conflict and Human Rights Analysis (ICCHRA).

The statement said: “As the lead intelligence agency of the State, the BNI is expected to gather and manage information in such a way that it does not get into the wrong hands.”

CFI said the publication indicated that highly sensitive information alleged to have emanated from the BNI was in the public domain.

“This, regrettably, has occurred at a time of growing public anxiety over the professional integrity and political neutrality of the security agencies as the presidential and parliamentary elections approach.

“We deem this development unhealthy and divisive likely to undermine public trust in the impartial role of the security agencies.”

The CFI said to avoid deepening the public’s anxiety over the role of the security agencies in the forthcoming elections, it called on the BNI and other security agencies of State to demonstrate a high degree of professional integrity and political neutrality as the nation moved closer to the December 7 elections.

CFI also appealed to the Ghanaian media “to exhibit a high sense of professionalism and responsibility in their election reportage”.

The CFI urged the public to remain steadfast in its commitment to ensuring credible and peaceful elections on December 7.

It is still not clear whether indeed, the BNI conducted that survey.

Source: GNA