Opinion: Tribal Vigilantism Has No Place in Akufo-Addo’s Ghana – By Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D.

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Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Ghana Politics, NDC, NPP
Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jnr., Ph.D.

They are fast becoming a nuisance, as they darn well ought to, now that the three-time Presidential Candidate of the erstwhile main opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP), Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, has been elected substantive President of the Democratic Republic of Ghana. But there was a time that the very survival of the NPP was threatened by both internal detractors and the collaborators of the latter, largely among the vanguard ranks of the then-ruling Mahama-led National Democratic Congress (NDC), that it was the timeous boldness and bravery of so-called vigilante groups like the Invincible Forces and the Delta Force that held the balance between NDC and a one-party state.

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Many Ghanaians have so shortly and scandalously forgotten this unpleasant factual reality, thus their lightning quickness in calling for the immediate disbandment of these militia forces. What needs to be done presently is to either retool these forces into more constructive activities, such as a workers’ brigade of gainfully employed youths or, as someone recently suggested, have them legitimately integrated into either the Ghana Armed Forces, if they are found to be disciplined and healthy enough. Of course, the demobilized members of these militia groups could also be integrated into any of the several national security agencies, including the Ghana police Service.

Needless to say, I was appalled by recent reports indicating the fact that one of these two NPP-affiliated militia forces or vigilante groups, namely the Delta Force, had decided to challenge the legitimacy of the right of President Akufo-Addo to appoint his own security coordinators around the country (See “Chairman Wontumi Summoned to Flagstaff House Over ‘Delta Force’” 3News.com / Ghanaweb.com 3/28/17). The Delta Force is alleged to have been formed by Mr. Bernard Antwi-Boasiako, the quite popular and dynamic Asante Regional Chairman of the New Patriotic Party, who is also known as Chairman Wontumi. The rather slow official public response from the Flagstaff House to the alleged manhandling of Mr. George Adjei, the Akufo-Addo-named Asante Regional Security Coordinator, prompted some prominent and respected Ghanaian journalists and social and political commentators to question whether the newly elected Akufo-Addo government intended to give free operational rein to the sort of political vigilantism that is more commonly associated with National Democratic Congress’ regimes.

Fortunately, as of this writing, the President had made an official statement to the deeply encouraging effect that he intended to evenhandedly administer the rule of justice without any fear or favor, or regard to ideological suasion or political affiliation. But even more encouraging, there are reports that several members of the Delta Force had been arrested. We hope that those found to be guilty of wrongdoing will be swiftly and rigorously meted justice. What bothered me most about the alleged assault of Mr. Adjei had to do with the reason reportedly given by his Delta Force assailants, to the damnable effect that the Asante Regional Security Coordinator was either not an ethnic Asante, or had not been born and raised in the region, and therefore had absolutely no business heading the region’s security apparatus.

I hope this kind of benighted parochial mentality was not imported from Nigeria or any one of the other neighboring countries where such politically unenlightened practice is quite common. This is Ghana, where each and every citizen and/or legitimate resident has an inalienable right to live and be legally employed in any region or district of the land.

*Visit my blog at: kwameokoampaahoofe.wordpress.com  Ghanaffairs

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