NPP Nasara: Disbanding Vigilante Groups An Unrealistic Call
Following the violence that marred the Ayawaso West Wuogon by-election, there has been an intensified call for the disbandment of VIGILANTE groups in the country, who are mainly supporters of the two main political parties- NDC and NPP.
To be vigilant is simply to be WATCHFUL and ALERT to ensure nothing untoward happens. Ordinarily, it has nothing to do with violence. However, in Ghana and Developing countries for that matter, VIGILANTISM is summarised as taking the law into one's hands and violent display of brute force to protect the interest of a group that one belongs to - maybe by virtue of recent happenings in the fourth republic.
The historical antecedent of political vigilantism in Ghana can be linked to youth activism in politics during the British colonial era when Dr. Kwame Nkrumah's CPP youth wing known as THE VERANDA BOYS set the pace for party youth activism. Dr. Kwame Nkrumah steered his VERANDA BOYS to successful political sovereignty from the British (Paalo, 2017).
Fast forward in the 3rd republic, The PNDC had the: 1. Mobisqaurd
2. The committee for the defence of the revolution (CDR)
3. Workers Defence Committee (WDC)
4. Peoples Defence Committee ( PDC)
These VIGILANTE groups were trained and armed by Chairman Rawlings to defend the revolution.
At the dawn of the Fourth Republic with the PNDC without the letter 'P' winning the 1992 elections, the strained CDR's etc where appointed Ministers, Chief Executives Officers of Department and agencies of Government. The actions, brutalities of the NDC vigilantes saw the NPP boycott the 1992 parliamentary election. polling agents of the NPP especially in the Northern and upper regions where whipped and whisked away by the trained and armed vigilantes of the NDC.
In the year 2000 Former President John Agyekum Kuffour won the election for the NPP. Ghana's democracy passed the test of a peaceful transfer of power to an opposition party. The NPP also Handed over power to the NDC in 2008.
The 2011 Sunyani congress that saw Nana Konadu Agyeman Rawlings contesting Prof Mills - remember the FONKA and GAME tussle. 1800 Azorka boys were dispatched as to providing extra security for the congress. the interior minister Hon. Mark Woyongo, a cadre has this to say about the Azorka boys in the face of Former president Rawlings call for the arrest and prosecution of the Azorka boys whom He termed Hooligans due to their thuggery nature and loyalty to the GAME movement. "We will license the activities of vigilante groups, Azorka boys and the bolga bull dogs are security organisations". this is a minister of interior Speaking- a minister in charge of Ghana's internal security.
The NPP's Invisible and delta force are of course termed as an internal security arrangement of the party, rather than a vigilante group as so defined by most Ghanaians as people taking the law in their own hands. a point to prove the case of the NPP is the allowance of the delta force to face the fill rigours of the law when it molested an appointed security capo in Ashanti. the in two forces have since been decent in its provision of security to the NPP.
To this end, it is clear that security experts should be calling for a proper regulation of the Vigilante groups as by standard definition rather than calling for disbandonement. It is a CONVENIENT UNREALISTIC CALL -
It has a historical background as evinced and political usefulness to politicians.
political vigilantes win and loses the election, another reason for proper regulation.
Alhaji Saalim M. Bamba
Ashanti Regional Nasara Coordinator