06.09.2006 Politics

Obed builds "Private Army"

By The Statesman
Dr. Obed Yao AsamoahDr. Obed Yao Asamoah
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Obed Yao Asamoah, former National Chairman of the National Democratic Congress, and currently leader and founder of the Democratic Freedom Party, appears to have taken alleged "threats" on his life by some NDC activists very serious.

A number of DFP activists as well, believing in the Obed cause, have also taken seriously the "threat" on the life of Dr Asamoah.

Information reaching The Statesman indicates that as an intelligence and defensive mechanism, leader and flock have therefore gone into an unwritten contract: the formation of an intelligence force and an 'army' of volunteers on the ground ready to defend their hero and his cause.

The 'army' is said to be made up of a wide variety of colours, including land-guards, stone miners, fishermen and unemployed youth, mostly based in the rough Ablekuma terrains, the poor communities along the Weija Lake and stone and sand quarries dotting the stretch to Amasaman and the Nsawam-Kumasi highway.

Hints about the existence of an Obed 'resistance army' was dropped by friends of Dr Asamoah to this paper the very week former Speaker Daniel Francis Annan died at the 37 Military Hospital in Accra. The Statesman has even learnt that the force was in existence long before the controversial Koforidua Congress that provided grounds for freedom loving NDC activists and leading members to quit the party and form another party, where they believe they can express themselves without the intimidating postures and presence of Rawlings' 'yes men.'

Investigations by The Statesman in the last few weeks have established that Obed's twenty years or so interaction with the Ga rural community which stretches from Bortianor and Weija through Kweiman, Afoaman and other communities to Pokuase and Amasaman was so rich in personal relations that his resignation from the NDC struck a blow that is still reverberating in the NDC's organisational structure in these areas.

"Though Obed may not understand our dialect, he is one of us in everything we do&He is not selfish&He is always available∧ he strives to help in solving disputes over boundaries and land or farming and fishing rights when we approached him&There is no way we can turn our back on such a distinguished neighbour, especially when he needs our support," one traditional head of Gbawe and another from Pokuase Stool told The Statesman last week at Pokuase, during the DFP's call on the family of the late D F Annan to officially to mourn with them.

"Obed is a true friend of the Ga people∧ because of him, our relationship with non-Gas in the communities have improved over the years, even in the face of imminent clashes, another elder intoned, when The Statesman asked the source of the strength of the DFP in these communities.

Nii Amasa, a youth activist and land-guard from Amasaman, with relations in Bukom, also stated: "Obed is our father and brother, from the days of Attoh Quarshie in the 70s to now&We cannot disown him&but we will also not look on for any group of people to harm him, because he himself is harmless&"

It takes the trained eye to notice that from the base of the McCarthy Hill to Dr Asamoahs residence, youth comprising landguards, masons, carpenters and others doing odd jobs 'spy' for the veteran politician.

A visitor or stranger who approaches the area looking for Dr Asamoah's residence will be given a searching look by any of these omnipresent young men. "You want Obed? What for? Any problem?" is the usual response to a query on the whereabouts of Dr Asamoah's residence.

When they are sure you mean well, they would momentarily abandon their modest trades and take you directly to his gate, watching how you enter the house and how you exit. And, when you got into the walled residence, you will be accurate in believing that there are 'unseen eyes' monitoring your movements and body language.

His personal security carries no visible weapons; they are not macho either; but inside the walls, footsteps up and down 'within' indicate you are being watched by his unseen volunteers.

When you are asked to sit and wait for him at the reception, you are sure not to meet him at that particular place. Actually, you are being monitored for a while before being conducted into his study, which is strategically positioned to scan you before 'bumping' into him.

Then, as you discuss matters with him, those same footsteps assail the tranquil surroundings, probably warning you not to try any mischief. The monitoring goes on and on till you leave.

That security regime was designed by one of the Cuban-trained, but retired 'Battalion soldiers '(name withheld), now secretly working for the DFP, according to some moderate NDC insiders. Retired last year, he occasionally finds time to come round and review the old man's security system, according to those same sources.

The expression on your face before leaving tells the 'guards' whether you were a 'good' person deserving another visit or a character deserving of having your name and address in the DFP's black book.

But the chances of Dr Asamoah's volunteer forces clashing with opponents, "especially our own NDC, are remote," according to the gang leaders, because the guards have been taught by the DFP leadership to set the best examples in political tolerance, even under the most provoking situations, according to Oblitei, a sand winner from Adzen Kotoku, one of the Ga rural communities near Nsawam.

The Greater Accra Regional Coordinator of the DFP, Nikoi Addison, who is also one of the national promoters of the party, in response to the unwavering commitment being shown by the Ga rural volunteer force, said it is not necessarily Dr Asamoah that the boys are willing to die for, but the truth.

"It is the truth they are prepared to die for∧ they believe in the leadership that tells them the truth&the truth that the DFP belongs to them, and the fact that the party and the future of this nation lie in their hands, and not those of the typical politicians we see around&That is what will drive them to die for a worthy cause, and that is the reason they would protect Obed.

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