When H.E. Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, on February 21, 2019, in his State of the Nation Address, appealed to the New Patriotic Party (NPP) and National Democratic Congress (NDC) to sit together and discuss means to find a lasting solution to the problem of vigilantism in Ghana, everyone welcomed the news.
The NDC, at first, decided it cannot happen, which should be obvious since it took vigilantism to a higher level by the cold blooded murder of one of its members during a normal regional meeting. And worst of all, turning vigilantism into guerrilla warfare, where people will be kidnapped, murdered and even have firework displays in places that can have collateral damage to life and property. In fact, a kind of terrorism on the scale of the ISIS, Buko Haram and other well-known extremist terrorist groups in the world was secretly plotted by the NDC as its next agenda in terrorism, but which was fortunately leaked to the public.
Recently, the NDC National Chairman authored an open letter to the President of the Republic, and in it made some statements which a common citizen like me believes are matters arising, to be addressed.
The NDC has decided that the meeting between the NPP and the NDC on this matter can happen, but requested an expansion of the meeting to include all political parties, civil society organisations (CSOs), the media, state security and other relevant stakeholders, with the National Peace Council appointed as mediator.
The NDC went on to propose that the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Center (KAIPTC), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), National Commission on Civil Education (NCCE) and Institute of Democratic Governance (IDEG) join the Peace Council.
Before I come to the most interesting matter in that letter, I wish to express my personal opinion about some of the groups proposed by the NDC.
Firstly, this is a solely security matter, and I believe there should be a media black-out during the discussions, for daily reportage on issues discussed could derail the agenda, since public interest and comments may throw the whole idea overboard.
If that is the intention of the NDC, then it means no good. With other political parties joining in, we must first prove whether they also have and operate vigilante groups. It seems to me that the NDC wants to have its socialist friends on board to use their numbers to push for a personal solution that will only suit their selfish interests. The KAIPTC and UNDP may be in attendance, but, certainly, not the NCCE, which is partisan in nature, because of the composition of the present Commission, which was done more under the NDC regime, and it has not effectively executed its constitutional mandate, which was to educate people on their civic rights and tell the truth as it is; so just as well as the IDEG is left out of this matter.
The most interesting potion of the NDC’s letter which needs to be expanded is the call for the disbanding and disarming of what it calls illegal armed force and the abandoning of recruitment of what it calls party thugs into the state security apparatus.
What is the NDC’s definition of illegal armed forces and political thugs?
It will be fair for the NDC, if it wants to be believed to be genuinely concerned, to come clean and explain how and why it operated illegal armed forces in Ghana during the Provisional National Defence Council (PNDC) and its regimes in the Fourth Republic. Where did the commandos and panthers come from? How did they get into the main stream military and police service? Why were members of these two private armies, created to protect Rawlings and his family, not put under the national military and police command, but directly under the Office of the Chairman of the PNDC, and later the Office of the President?
Would the NDC accept that if such personnel are still in the military, police and other security agencies, they should be fished out, disbanded and disarmed?
The NDC told Ghanaians that the Special Forces in the Ghana Armed Forces were created with the sole purpose to crush the NPP, which clearly indicates their biasness towards the NDC and readiness to attack any political party or persons against the NDC, which, in this case, makes them a partisan political group within the Ghana Armed Forces.
In this case, such a group must be disarmed and removed for good if the NDC also wants the NPP to disband and disarm the illegal armed forces, if there is any at all.
Again, the NDC is laying claims that some alleged party thugs have been recruited into the security forces and services. The understanding of what a party thug is can raise interesting views. For example, we all know the dreaded Azorka Boys who rained down terror on peace-loving people are classified by the NDC as Community Development Group, and there is no evidence of whatever work they have done in communities to improve living conditions there.
They are known to be the militant wing of the NDC, which terrorises innocent citizens during by-elections. So if the Azoka Boys are said to be “peace loving” developers of the community, then which groups can be said to be thugs?
Now anybody can be a vigilante, irrespective of sex, ethnic background, academic qualification, religious leanings etc., etc. With this, how is the NDC trying to justify the removal of alleged vigilantes from the security forces this country?
When employment avenues opened up in the security services, those who qualify are recruited irrespective of whether he or she was a vigilante. These men and women need jobs, and when they are qualified, they get employed. If the NDC wants those who were NPP vigilantes, whom they choose to call party thugs, be removed from the security services, then it must be honest and humble enough to produce a full list of men and women who were employed into the police, military, immigration and others during its regimes and beyond (PNDC era), and offer them to be disarmed and disbanded.
The NDC cannot set the agenda for such an important meeting on the dissolution of vigilantism when it wants to protect its ugly past.
Hon. Daniel Dugan