Former President John Mahama
Emerging archival details, some of them newspaper cuttings, have revealed that the National Democratic Congress (NDC) trained party foot soldiers — most of them known thugs — at the Asutsuare Training Centre.
Ironically though, former President John Mahama in one of his litany of unsubstantiated allegations had accused the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP) of training thugs at the same location ahead of next year’s elections.
In 2014, some past trainees of the centre who saw action during the 2008 elections had cause to complain about not being fully integrated into the national security apparatus which was then under the command of Col. Larry Gbevlo-Lartey (rtd).
A telltale segment of the story in The Finder newspaper on Tuesday, December 9, 2014, reads, “They explained that they are a group of NDC foot soldiers recruited by former National Security Adviser, Larry Gbevlo-Lartey in 2009 when President John Evans Atta Mills took office.
“Some of them who spoke to The Finder on condition of anonymity said their recruitment was based on their selfless dedication to the NDC in the run-up to the 2008 elections. They were subsequently sent to Asutuare for a joint training with personnel of Bureau of National Investigations (BNI).”
They were trained in weapon handling and other tactics, DAILY GUIDE has learnt.
After successfully passing written and practical tests, the men were moved to the Castle Annex in 2009 as national security staff but later moved to the SCC Yard at Abelenkpe in Accra.
Their petition gave a hint of the kind of training they undertook.
They pointed at the Centre for Conflict Resolution at Okponglo as their operation base in the run-up to the 2008 elections.
National Security Response
In a statement from the National Security Ministry’s Public Information Department and signed by Maj. Ignatius Awuni (rtd), the claim by the former President was debunked.
“Since 2009, recruits into this outfit have been provided with standard training. No persons, other than regular national security staff, are trained by the secretariat at the facility,” the statement explained.
The makers of the allegations, the statement added, are immediate past government officials who are familiar with the training being offered.
A source has told DAILY GUIDE that the NDC turning round to accuse the NPP of training thugs for the 2020 polls is a ruse, adding “they have always done veneer what they are rather doing in the dark.”
The use of state-trained thugs by the NDC in elections in the past is “household knowledge”, he said. He added that bodyguards of leading NDC figures including the former President “are persons with integrity baggage.”
“It would have been better for the former President to be circumspect in the allegations he spews out in the heat of politicking.This is a former President who appears to be in love with miscreants and former soldiers who were dismissed for various acts of indiscipline which have no place in the military,” he pointed out.
It has emerged that a former Sergeant in the Ghana Army now in the former President’s security detail was with the RECCE Regiment. He reportedly slapped a senior officer during a mission in the Congo and was sacked from the Ghana Armed Forces.
Another one with the 64 Reserve Battalion was arrested over stolen ammunition and a weapon and jailed at the Nsawam Medium Security Prison.
Furthermore, another former soldier arrested for stealing weapons was said to be a corner boy (a prison term for servant) to a jailed NDC minister.
A former Corporal who is also part of the former President’s security detail was trained at Asutuare.
Under the NDC, various categories of party faithful were trained for election duties. Unfortunately, it is becoming rather difficult to continue with the acts of thuggery needed to change the outcome of elections.
Another NDC foot soldier’s petition has a long list of persons trained by soldiers of the 64 Infantry Regiment in the past, DAILY GUIDE has observed.
The petitioners were complaining about neglect after enduring a grueling training regimen.
They are Phanuel Duty, Buaseh Kennedy, Jerry Nartey, Amedzro Philip, Ibrahim Iddrissu, Aminu Salifu, Kayikah Kwame and Mohammed Yakubu.
Others were Isaac Eshun, Thomas Freeman, Emmanuel Norvor, Ismeal Sowah, Edah Samuel, Evans Tsiagbey, Samuel Ocansey, Jacob Kwafo, Dorcas Botchwey and Illiasu Takubu.
The rest are Patrick Antwi, Ernest Ahoto, Alex Vittor Duku, Abu Mohammed, Mills Botchwew, James Tettey, Bossu Dela, Kwaku York, Albert Sey and Abass Mohammed.
By A.R. Gomda