All is set for the country’s main opposition party, the New Patriotic Party, to hold its National Delegates’ Conference at the weekend in Tamale to elect officers to spearhead the party’s effort at winning the 2016 general elections, to rescue the nation from the hands of the inept Mahama-led National Democratic Congress government.
Ahead of the conference, the party has sent out a strong warning to all those who may want to do anything to undermine the smooth conduct of the event, more especially those who intend to instigate violence to mar the exercise, “to amend their ways before they are met with the brute force of the law.”
The warning comes at a time the New Statesman has picked up intelligence that some youth groups in some parts of the country are being recruited by people who are associated with the NDC for the evil purpose of instigating clashes in some parts of Tamale, as well as around the Tamale Sports Stadium, venue for the event.
“The intention is to ensure that the conference does not take place in an atmosphere of absolute peace so as to create the impression that the NPP does not stand for peace. They particularly want to create violent scenes that will be associated with Nana Addo and Alan supporters,” a source close to one of the youth groups hinted the paper.
The New Statesman is reliably informed that among the towns where the would-be trouble makers are being recruited are Techiman, Bawku and Tamale. The modus operandi of their paymasters is to give them T’shirts embossed with the pictures of Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, 2008 and 2012 NPP Presidential Candidate, and his main challenger, Alan Kwadwo Kyeremanteng. Some of them plan to ‘stage-manage’ clashes among themselves while others will instigate confusion, and possible violence, with provocative utterances and conduct.
Nana Akufo-Addo has officially declared his intention to seek re-election as the party’s candidate for the 2016 elections. Mr Kyeremateng is yet to do same but it is highly anticipated that he will contest the race for the presidential candidate slot.
Meanwhile, Director of Elections of the party, Martin Adje-Mensah Korsah, has assured delegates, other party members and all stakeholders of effective security arrangement that will forestall any planned disturbances.
“We are not going give the opportunity to any trouble-maker to have his way and that is why the party hierarchy has taken a firm decision to leave the issue of security to the police, who will be supported by the military. I just want to caution all our party members, including the delegates, not to give any cause for the security to deal with them, according to the laws of the land. They are not going to spare anybody who attempts to undermine the security at the venue for the event, neither will they tolerate any act that could mar the event. We have asked them to do that and we expect them not to fail us,” he said in an interview with the New Statesman.
According to Mr Adjei-Mensah, 1,200 police personnel and 100 military officers have been deployed to provide security at the venue for the conference, as well as in the Tamale Metropolis.
The number has been criticized by some members of the NDC, with the party’s Central Regional Communications Director, Bernard Allotey Jacobs, questioning the need for that number of security personnel.
“This is serious. The whole of Rwanda police service is almost about 1, 500 and even Liberia police service is not up to 1,000. How can NPP alone send such a huge number of police and military personnel to Tamale for just their congress? This is like three battalions. Are they going to hunt or to arrest Charles Taylor…this is a serious matter,” Allotey Jacobs said on Asempa FM.
But Martin Adjei-Korsah insists the security arrangement is not out of place, stressing that it is meant to ensure order and the success of the event, and especially prevent trouble makers from executing their evil agenda, adding “the security of our members is of much importance to us and the police have given a firm commitment that security is under control.”
He added that as part of the strict security arrangements, any person without a valid accreditation would not be allowed entrance into the Tamale Sports stadium, venue for the event.