‘Disband vigilante groups’ – Spio to Akufo-Addo
As Ghana marks its 57th republican anniversary, lawlessness and political vigilantism should not be the characteristic of modern governance, hence President Nana Akufo-Addo must act immediately to halt such practices by elements within the New Patriotic Party (NPP), a former Minister of Trade and Industry, Ekwow Spio-Garbrah, has said.
In an address on July 1 to commemorate the celebration of this year’s Republic Day, the former Minister of Communications said given the powers of the President of Ghana, “the continued existence in Ghana of outlaw vigilante groups, such as Invisible (or Invincible) Forces or Delta Forces, poses a huge risk to the security and safety of Ghanaians as well as to the millions of foreigners residing in Ghana”.
He emphasized that 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.”
He was of the view that even though the Akufo-Addo-led government has spent less than a year in office “it is already crystal clear that the President is not showing effective leadership”.
He outlined a myriad issues to back his claims including the bloated number of ministers in Mr Akufo-Addo’s government.
Below is the full statement:
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.
Let us restore confidence in our security agencies most of whom have excelled overseas in peacekeeping for the UN, the AU and ECOWAS. On Republic Day, the President should have the political will to disband these groups and all other similar groups that have the potential of plunging this country into further chaos. As an opposition candidate for President, Mr Akufo-Addo could have claimed the need for special protection, on the unfounded belief that he could not trust the Ghana Police Force to give him the protection he needs. Candidate Akufo-Addo is now the President of the Republic of Ghana, with all uniformed services in Ghana under his authority. What sense of insecurity and continuing fear does the President and his associates have that makes them still want to keep vigilante groups as some private army of their own? The continued existence of any “forces” in Ghana other than forces belonging to the State and paid for by the taxpayer, should be disbanded in the higher national interest of Ghana, and in the interest of peace, safety, security, stability, development and prosperity.
This country is bigger than any political party and any President, and we must all be citizens and not spectators, as the President bemoaned at his plagiarism-infected Inauguration. We should therefore not sit back idly and look on while unofficial forces are maintained as private armies waiting for occasions to wreak mayhem on Ghanaians.
“All that it takes for Evil to triumph is for Good Men to do nothing!”
Long Live Republic Day,
Long Live the Rule of Law!!
Short Live Lawlessness!!
Short Live Vigilantism!!
Long Live Ghana
God bless us all!!