Politics of Saturday, 1 July 2017
Former minister of Trade and Industries under the erstwhile John Dramani Mahama administration, Dr Ekow Spio-Garbrah has urged president Nana Addo to put in measures to disband vigilante groups and their activities.
In a statement copied to Ghanapoliticsonline.com, the one time flagbearer aspirant of the National Democratic Congress recounted the numerous acts of violence and broad-day light show of disrespect for the Laws and authorities governing the country and other acts of impunity perpetrated by vigilante groups believed to be card bearing members and operatives of the New Patriotic Party.
He cautioned that “All that it takes for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing”
Read his statement below
“DISBAND VIGILANTE GROUPS”—Spio Urges President
As we commemorate the day Ghana became a Republic, on 1st July, 1960, the occasion gives us an opportunity to reflect on some aspects of national life which were supposed to be enhanced by Ghana becoming a Republic.
By becoming a Republic, the Queen of England ceased to be Ghana’s Head of State, and the President of the Republic of Ghana assumed numerous new responsibilities under the 1960 Constitution, including becoming the Commander in Chief of our Armed Forces.
As Commander-in- Chief, the President controls all our uniformed services, including all law enforcement agencies, and also has the capacity to seek military assistance where necessary from foreign powers. These powers are to enable the President to ensure the peace, safety, security and prosperity of all residents of Ghana.
Given these powers of the President of Ghana, the continued existence in Ghana of outlaw vigilante groups, such as Invisible (or Invincible) Forces or Delta Forces, pose a huge risk to the security and safety of Ghanaians as well as to the millions of foreigners residing in Ghana.
On the occasion of Republic Day, I wish to call on the President of the Republic of Ghana and Commander-In-Chief of the Ghana Armed Forces, H.E. Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo and the NPP in government to wake up from their slumber and disband the various armed or semi-armed vigilante groups that were trained and prepared for mayhem before the 2016 elections.
We also call on our foreign development partners, religious organisations, academia, the law enforcement agencies themselves, and other governance and pro-democracy groups to raise their voices loudly on this matter.
It is only six months into Nana Addo’s presidency, and it is already crystal clear that the President is not showing effective leadership.
Lawlessness and indiscipline of the highest order has engulfed the nation and one would expect the President and the security agencies to take more seriously the threat to the State from irregular, illegal and unregistered groups of well-built, partially trained, angry and unemployed males, paid by private businessmen, and seeking mayhem for a living. The lynching of an innocent army officer should have taught all of us Ghanaians what is easily possible if we do not maintain self-vigilance.
We have reached the zenith of lawlessness under a regime led by a man who has paraded himself all his life as a doyen of the rule of law. It is also worthy of note that this state of affairs, regrettable as it is, is superintended over by several appointees in the national security arena. We have a Minister of the Interior, an Inspector- General of Police, a National Security Minister, a National Security Coordinator, a National Security Advisor, a Minister of Defence, a Chief of Defence Staff, all with several deputies, etc. It is now abundantly clear that the NPP chose quantity over quality, a situation that defies their oft-repeated statement that “we have the men”.
Unprecedented mob action, in the name of so-called instant justice, has recently bedeviled our nation in gargantuan proportions. Invincible Forces, Khandahar Boys, Delta Forces and many other outlaw vigilantist groups associated with the NPP have shown gross disrespect for established state institutions, including the Judiciary and the Ghana Police Force, with the blessing of the NPP and President Nana Akuffo-Addo. This is very inimical to an effective justice delivery system which is a sine qua non to the realisation of a true democracy that has at its core, respect for the fundamental human rights of the citizenry and respect for rule of law.
The decision by the NPP Government to withdraw charges against the men of the Delta Forces who forcibly freed their colleagues from a Court room is a dark stain on law enforcement and the rule of law which should ring a loud wake-up bell in the ears of both the Judiciary and the Police Service.
As a nation, we should take drastic measures to nip the activities of these lawless groups in the bud, otherwise we risk further emboldening these groups who would undoubtedly engage in more eggregious, unlawful and unacceptable conduct in the near future.
Neighbouring countries like Liberia, Sierra Leone and Coe d’Ivoire slowly drifted into civil war when individuals were allowed to become “war lords” and to have under their personal command thousands of initially unarmed but trained civilians who, once they gained access to weapons, became a force for evil and bloodshed.
Elsewhere in Africa, countries such as Rwanda, Burundi, Somalia, South Sudan, DRC, Uganda, have all suffered from the hands, machettes and guns of such war lords.