General News of Wednesday, 12 September 2018
Former Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister has said political parties can give true meaning to the legacy of the late Ghanaian UN Secretary-General, Kofi Annan, by disbanding vigilante groups.
Emmanuel Bombande who is a senior UN Mediation Advisor said Ghana faces a contradiction of having once produced the world’s number one peace ambassador and also tolerating political vigilantism.
Mr Bombande was amongst hundreds of diplomats, former ambassadors and dignitaries who thronged the Accra International Conference Center Wednesday to pay their last respect to the former Secretary General who died August 18, 2018.
Speaking ahead of the funeral service on Thursday, he expressed disappointment that politicians continue to sow seeds of hatred, rancour and division for the sake of winning a political competition.
His comments follow the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) General Secretary Johnson Asiedu Nketia saying the party will not discourage its vigilante groups.
He argued that groups linked to the party in recent times are a natural response to the existence of groups affiliated to the government New Patriotic Party (NPP).
The pro-NDC macho men, the ‘Hawks’ emerged at the Ashanti regional congress in September. Other groups include ‘The Dragons’ based in the Brong Ahafo region and ‘The Lions’ based in the Eastern region.
He said the NDC while in government watched on while the NPP formed groups like Delta Force based in the Ashanti region, Kandahar Boys based in the Northern region and the Invincible Forces based in the capital, Accra.
Delta Force invaded a court in Kumasi in April 2017 to free its members who were facing prosecution for acts of vandalism.
“Are you saying we on the NDC side, because we are good citizens we should keep quiet for the NPP to control the army, control police control everybody and on top of that one organise party thugs to attack us?”, Asiedu Nketia said.
But Bombande expressed alarm at the culture of political vigilantism. “Ghana must continue to be a beacon of democracy and peace,” he told Joy News.
Urging civil society groups and religious groups to speak against political vigilantism in the country, he said it is time to “remove intolerance, remove and vigilante groups” from Ghana’s body politic.