The issue of vigilante violence and the virtual passivity of the police hit the media headlines in July 2015, or thereabouts, during the Talensi by-election which was fiercely contested between the then-ruling Mahama-led government of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) and the Akufo-Addo-led then-main opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP). But what was quite bizarre but interesting, nevertheless, was the public statement that the extant Interior Minister, Mr. Mark Woyongo, made that seemed to heartily celebrate vigilante violence. Made aware of violent clashes between the NDC-sponsored Azorka Boys and the NPP-affiliated Bolga-Bull-Dogs, Mr. Woyongo riposted that the logical response to violence was with violence.
In other words, rather than have state-salaried personnel of the Ghana Police Service (GPS) take charge and ensure the prevalence of public peace, it was perfectly within the bounds of legality for the Azorka Boys and the Bolga-Bull- Dogs to sort out matters for themselves. Now that the political tables have turned in favor of the New Patriotic Party, the key operatives of the National Democratic Congress are pretending as if the unsavory institutionalization of militia vigilantism just became a national political reality with the 2016 electoral victory of the New Patriotic Party.
In reality, vigilantism, as we presently know it, is the veritable invention of the Jerry John Rawlings junta of the Provisional National Defense Council (PNDC), the ideological antecedent of the Chairman Rawlings-led National Democratic Congress. In the Talensi hostilities of 2015, it was the NDC-sponsored Azorka Boys that was widely reported by the media to have sparked the onslaught of violence, sicced on supporters and sympathizers of the NPP by the hard-nosed and vindictive likes of Messrs. Johnson Asiedu-Nketia, Kofi Portuphy, Kofi Adams and Koku Anyidoho who had stormed the Talensi township ahead of the by-election which was won by the National Democratic Congress.
In the Delta Force incident, in which some members of the Kumasi-based NPP-affiliated militia group stormed the premises of the Kumasi Circuit Court and forcibly released some 13 of their colleagues who had been denied self-recognizance bail, once again, like Talensi, the police were virtually absent, thus tacitly giving the Delta Force members good reason to believe that it was right for them to literally take the law into their own hands. As of this writing, the Asante Regional Police Commander, Mr. Ken Yeboah, was reported to have profusely apologized for the abjectly poor handling of the incident by his uniformed men and women. Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCOP) Yeboah reportedly further stated that he and his staff had woefully miscalculated by assuming the Delta Force operatives to be more disciplined than they have demonstrated themselves to be (See “Delta Force Attack: We Did a Poor Job” MyNewsGhana.com/ Ghanaweb.com 4/8/17).
There is absolutely no excuse here, whatsoever, as barely a couple of weeks before, some members of the Delta Force had mounted a fierce and rude challenge against President Akufo-Addo, by reportedly storming his office and assaulting the newly appointed Asante Regional Security Coordinator, on the scandalously boorish grounds that Mr. Adjei, a non-ethnic Asante, did not belong in the region. It was in the judicial pursuit of justice for both Mr. Adjei and his alleged Delta Force assailants that resulted in the alleged criminal violation of the authority and institutional legitimacy and integrity of the Kumasi Circuit Court.
During his 2016 electioneering campaign, then-Candidate Akufo-Addo solemnly called on the police brass to inculcate a spirit of professionalism and impartiality in the conduct of the duties of all members of the Ghana Police Service. We hope that both the President and the leaders and commanders of the GPS are working studiously to restore the image, credibility and integrity of our peace officers.
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