Fry it or bake it, Delta Force raid worse than Montie 3 – Bentil

Vice President of policy think tank, IMANI Ghana, Kofi Bentil says the activities of pro-NPP vigilante groups, if not controlled by the party, will erode its goodwill.

He said the actions of the thugs do not only destabilize the security of the country, but bring to question the NPP’s stance on rule of law and its readiness to fight crime.

Speaking on Joy FM’s news analysis programme Newfile on Saturday, Mr Bentil who is also a private legal practitioner said “this is taking a lot of moral high ground from the NPP. If this doesn’t stop, this will be the beginning of the end of the NPP.”

The activities of pro-NPP vigilante groups – Invincible Forces and Delta Forces – have caused a lot of outrage in the country.

Since the NPP won power in the 2016 general elections, these groups have been on rampage seizing public institutions, beating up members of the opposition National Democratic Congress and sacking officials appointed by the previous government from their posts.

In a recent incident, members of the Delta Force stormed the offices of the Security Cordinator in the Ashanti regional capital Kumasi, forcing him out of office and subsequently invaded a court hearing to free the suspects arrested for the earlier raid.

The double attack on the security apparatus and the judiciary have incensed many.

Related: Video: NPP’s Delta Force free vigilante suspects in court custody.

Although these actions have been condemned by some members of the party, Mr Bentil believes an attack on a court is frightening and unacceptable.

“The court is the final bulwark of our democracy, if we start attacking courts, we are all going to be subjects to the rule of the jungle.”

Mr Bentil said the NPP’s attempt to juxtapose the behaviour of the hooligans to that of the Montie 3, is disappointing.

The Circuit Court where the incident occured

For him, no matter how hard the party tries to justify it, “the lesson is that whether you toast it, fry it or boil it, or bake it, there is no way of making it look good.

“Judges are people we call ‘My Lord’, we give them titles that we ordinarily give God …Even the president’s actions are subject to the review of a judge so the last thing you do is to attack a court,” he added.

Police response

Mr Bentil described the response of the police during the incident at court as disastrous.

He said the police had enough time to call for back up before the incident because the thugs went to the court early and started the disturbances before their case was called.

It has become apparent that for about an hour before the proceedings the Delta Forces had already besieged the court and started disrupting proceedings of cases that were called before theirs.

Related: Ashanti Region Police Commander takes responsibility for Delta Force court raid

Their failure to take a proactive step for Mr Bentil, is worrying.

“Regardless of what happened, the police should have known that this kind of situation required more men. Even if they made a mistake in arranging the resources they needed in the beginning, you had all this time, so was there no kind of monitoring of the situation.

“I worry that you have a situation where people mass up break into a court…that catastrophic failure of the police should be watched and some people must answer questions. This should not happen again,” he said.

Kweku baako 2016

Editor-in-chief of the New Crusading Guide Newspaper, Kweku Baako Jnr who was also a panel on the show said the thugs should be prosecuted.

He said there is no way the 13 people, if evidence provides sufficient indication that they were wrong, should be allowed to walk.

“Deal with them according to law,” he said, adding that “there should be an additional charge for escaping and those who invaded the court should be punished.”

He described the behaviour of the thugs as a the highest form of contempt.

He said this issue should not be swept under the carpet because “It is about time that now we see evidence of how the prosecutions ended and I pray that we have custodial sentence.”