The General Secretary of the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP), John Boadu has indicated the party’s readiness to work with the leadership of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) to uproot vigilantism from Ghana’s political space.
He said it was in the interest of the two parties, which had taken turns in ruling the country since the coming into force of the 4th Republic in 1992, to create conducive environment and space for political activities.
Since the pronouncement by President Nana Akufo-Addo, which urged the parties to work towards eliminating political vigilantism, he said the party had received a copy of a letter signed by the National Chairman of the NDC that suggest that they were also desiring of processes to end the menace.
Testifying before the Justice Emile Short Commission of Inquiry on the Ayawaso West Wuogon Constituency by-election violence yesterday in Accra, Mr Boadu condemned the violence which characterised the by-election on January 31 and maintained that the incident does not discredit the outcome of the by-election.
The NPP, he said do not own nor sponsor any vigilante group but was aware of groupings, made up of party members, who support the NPP in diverse ways.
“The members of Invincible Force, Bolga Bulldogs, Delta Force and Kandahar Boys are members of the NPP. They are not groupings owned by the party nor are they financially sponsored. They are not thugs but provide needed services to the party,” he stated.
Relating experiences from the activities of the groups, Mr Boadu said although the party does not endorse political vigilantism, there have been instances where such groupings have saved the lives of individuals including himself from thugs from other political parties.
“I am a beneficiary of these groupings. I went to Asutifi Asunafo area as part of my work as acting General Secretary in 2016. I asked some men in Kumasi to accompany me. I was attacked by one man who said he was the brother of Collins Dauda and his boys who had guns, machetes and others. Had it not been the presence of these men I went with, it would have been a different story because the police was virtually helpless,” he added.
On previous violent by-elections, he said violence during by-elections were mostly unnecessary and could have been prevented if the Police had been firm and fair in dealing with the political parties as well as making examples out of those who go out of order.
Speaking on the relevance of party vigilante groups, the General Secretary stated that “as political parties, it will be difficult for the Police to provide security for us given the fact that they are often outnumbered at the polling stations.”
Earlier, Detective Inspector Sulemana Abudulai Jallo of the East Legon Police Command told the Commission that he was unable to retrieve the bullet casings from the Wala chief after the incidence because there was lot of agitation and high tempers.
Although the Wala chief did not hand over the casings, the Detective said he was allowed to take pictures, which according to the chief numbered 37.
He said the chief was short of telling him where he collected the bullet casings saying that he together with the District Crime Officer retrieved three bullets casings including two from students of the school.
An eyewitness, Benjamin Tagoe, said when he and some supporters of Delali Brempong, the NDC parliamentary candidate, prevented the national security operatives from entering Mr Brempong’s house, two warning shots were initially fired after which 20 more were fired into the crowd in front of the house.
Some of the shots which were targeted at the people, he said entered into the trees and vehicles nearby.
He said a member of the crowd told him the security operatives were actually members of the vigilante group, Invincible Forces, which he confirmed using his trained military knowledge.
BY CLAUDE NYARKO ADAMS