The party said it is ready to disband its vigilante groups only if the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP) also agrees to do same. The opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) has issued a caveat on what it will take for the party to disband all of its vigilante groups across the country.
The party said it is ready to disband its vigilante groups only if the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP) also agrees to do same.
In a statement signed by General Secretary Asiedu Nketia, the NDC said President Akufo-Addo must first show that he is committed to fighting vigilantism by prosecuting groups in his party who have attacked state institutions in the past.
“We wish to emphasise our readiness to order the disbandment of these groups, provided, and only if, President Akufo-Addo shows signs of readiness to protect the lives and property of our members by disarming and disbanding the NPP's numerous vigilante groups; arresting and prosecuting all NPP members who have been cited for various breaches of the law through vigilantism, including the forcible release of NPP suspects from police custody, the forcible eviction of some Chief Executive Officers of state-owned organisations from their offices, and providing appropriate operational environment for state security agencies to regain their control and mandate in protecting life and property of the citizenry,” sections of the statement read.
Vigilantism has become a prevalent phenomenon among the two main political parties in the country.
The ruling NPP is affiliated to the 'Delta Force' based in the Ashanti region, 'Kandahar Boys' based in the Northern region and the 'Invincible Forces' based in Accra, whiles the NDC's vigilante groups also include 'The Dragons' based in the Brong Ahafo region, the 'Hawks' and 'The Lions' based in the Eastern region.
The NDC, however, insists it formed the vigilante groups to protect its members and will only disband them if the NPP agrees to do same. Read the NDC's full statement below:
NDC RESPONDS TO NCCE STATEMENT ON POLITICAL PARTY VIGILANTISM
The NDC has taken a rather regrettable notice of the Press Statement issued by the National Commission for Civic Education under the heading “NCCE CONDEMNS RE-EMERGENCE OF POLITICAL PARTY VIGILANTE GROUPS”.
First of all, we welcome the new awakening of organizations like the NCCE to an over-grown menace of Political Party Vigilantism in the country. Indeed, we are more encouraged and motivated by the fact that individual members of our party, have now taken charge of their personal security by organizing themselves into groups so as to provide adequate security for the lives and property of our party members. It is important to reiterate our support for any such group formed for this purpose.
As we may all be aware, this has been necessitated by the persistent and loud failure of the Akuffo Addo led NPP government to rein in their para-military-trained vigilante groups, who have since their electoral victory, virtually over-powered the state security and rendered them ineffective in their bid to protect life and property of fellow citizens.
We were all witnesses to the loud silence, the helpless response of the state security and the protection of the Judiciary, when the Delta Forces visited terror on the Ashanti Regional Security Coordinator and their subsequent invasion of the Kumasi Circuit Court to free their colleagues who were on trial for the brutalisation of the said Security Coordinator.
These same NPP vigilante forces unlawfully seized two of our party vehicles under bizarre circumstances, which said vehicles are still in the custody of the flagstaff house security, even after submission of all vehicle documentation to the transport officer at the Flagstaff House.
They again brutally invaded the residence of our Member of Parliament for Asunafo South Mr. Eric Opoku and visited mayhem amidst gunshots on the occupants of the house and other NDC faithful, we can only remember loud silence of President Akufo-Addo and how helpless the police looked on in this matter.
We have all been witnesses to the various episodes of terrorism, intimidation and brutalisation of our functionaries by these NPP vigilante groups and not on any single occasion did we see an attempt by the NCCE or any section of moral society to condemn these acts of terrorism from these NPP vigilante groups.
So, where was the NCCE in 2015, when the then-candidate Akufo-Addo recruited and brought in mercenaries to train and establish the para-military wings of the New Patriotic Party? We didn't hear the NCCE when the South African mercenaries were arrested and deported. Several attempts to get the moral society to speak and condemn this act of forming a terrorist group proved futile; their Rambo styled attacks against NPP persons purported to be against Candidate Akufo-Addo was replete in the daily news reportage.
Unfortunately, this NCCE condemnation has come in rather too late in the day. We have allowed the NPP to perpetrate these acts of injustice to our members for far too long. We shall not miss any opportunity to protect the lives and property of our people.
While we are guided by the saying that: 'He who seeks peace, must prepare for war', we wish to serve notice of our cautious adoption of all the groups formed by our members to protect the interest of our party.
However, we wish to emphasise our readiness to order the disbandment of these groups provided and only if, President Akufo-Addo shows signs of readiness to protect the lives and property of our members by disarming and disbanding the NPPs numerous vigilante groups; arresting and prosecuting all NPP members who have been cited for various breaches of the law through vigilantism; including the forcible release of NPP suspects from police custody, the forcible ejection of some Chief Executive Officers of state-owned organisations from their offices and providing appropriate operational environment for state security agencies to regain their control and mandate in protecting life and property of the citizenry.
Long Live the NDC!! Long Live our Peace and Security!! Long Live our Democracy!! Long Live Ghana!! Signed: Hon Johnson Asiedu-Nketiah General Secretary