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07.03.2006 General News

Raising private army is illegal - Kufuor


Accra, March 7, GNA - President John Agyekum Kufuor has expressed disappointment with the statement by the Deputy General Secretary of the country's largest opposition political party, the National Democratic Congress (NDC) that it is recruiting ex-commandos of the defunct 64 Battalion and former policemen to provide security in the course of its planned street demonstrations.

Mr. Kwabena Agyepong, his Press Secretary, said at a Castle briefing on Tuesday that, this to the President, was unacceptable. The laws of Ghana did not permit any person or group to raise a private army, he said, and warned that the security services were adequately prepared and equipped to deal with those who would want to threaten the security of the state.

He said President Kufuor respected the right of the people to express their opinion in diverse ways but resorting to mayhem could not be accepted.

The NDC Deputy General Secretary, Mr Elvis Afriyie Ankrah, announced at a meeting of the Odododiodio Constituency of the party on March 2 that they were going to mobilise 500 ex-policemen and former members of the defunct 64 Battalion to protect demonstrators against infiltrators and what he termed "any mishap targeted at leaders and demonstrators."

This was a day after an Accra Fast Track High Court presided over by Mr Justice P. K. Gyaesayor had granted an Order of Prohibition to prevent the party from holding a demonstration against the Representation of the People (Amendment) Law.

Attending the meeting were leading members of the NDC in the Greater Accra Region as well as the National Executive and some observers from the Concerned Ghanaians group that has been organising a series of demonstrations against the ROPAA.

Mr Agyepong also touched on the protracted chieftaincy conflicts in the northern parts of the country that were creating security problems and said President Kufuor had been receiving updates on the situation. The President would want to caution parties to those conflicts to respect law and order and use laid down procedures to resolve these matters.

There have been flashpoints in Bimbilla, Gushiegu and Wa, the underlying causes being chieftaincy disputes. Mr Agyepong conveyed President Kufuor's appreciation to all Ghanaians for the memorable celebration of the country's 49th Independence anniversary.

These were exciting times to be a Ghanaian and we must all work to promote the collective good of the nation, he added.