Throughout history, the efforts of citizens to call their leaders to order has yielded results immediately or later. In recent times, people power is acceptable as compared to coup d’état; thus, Egyptians, Tunisians and Burkinabes kicked out their leaders who felt that they could steal the sovereignty of their nations – that is the “Spirit of people power”.
What is it? In Ghana, there is a strong wind of raising political militias blowing among the two main political parties, the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP) and the National Democratic Congress (NDC) – an anticlimax of the good name we have made for ourselves since the beginning of the Fourth Republic. The whole matter has gotten to the climax. There is a need for a resolution.
The actors in the play must be called to order. The issue of political militia is posing a threat to the security of this country. For us to gain a good name for ourselves and then political parties who are supposed to uphold the sanctity of the constitution that gives them a reason to exist are rather betraying the constitution, we are in big trouble.
While President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo is using every opportunity to tell us that he wants to see the end of the political militias in political parties, it has been reported that right under his watch a militia group is training in the Osu Castle, a former seat of government.
The Information Minister and a couple of other government appointees who have oversight responsibilities over the matter are feverishly contradicting themselves in all manner of ways.
Ever since the NPP took the reins of power, members of political militias or vigilante groups associated with the party have closed offices of state institutions, driven out public officials as well as staff of these offices, freed their colleagues in police custody, attacked a judge who was presiding over a case in court and the beat goes on.
In spite of the public outcry against the disregard for law and order, these thugs only received a slap on their wrists.
Last year, it was reported that Former President Mahamah had launched a new vigilante group known as the Hawks – an issue the party denied vehemently.
A couple of weeks ago, it was reported that rival groups in the NDC were involved in a shootout which resulted in the death of some members of the group.
Weeks before the Ayawaso West Wuogon by-election, COP Nathan Kofi Boakye of the Ghana Police Service spoke prophetically about the danger of these thugs who are known by various names.
It looks as if the relative peace we are enjoying has gone into our heads. We think that it is never possible for us to get to the point that others got to. We are treading where angels fear to tread. We have no idea that the proverbial devil roasts his salted and dried fish where the proverbial angelic hosts boil their yam or plantain.
The situation poses dire consequences since most of these thugs end up as national security operatives, military, police and other security service recruits. These thugs-turned-recruits then become loyal to their paymasters. This goes a long way to get the police service and the other security services politically polarised. Again, the Inspector General of Police, as well as forces and the services chiefs, are unable to call the thugs to order since the appointing authority is the Executive (led by the President). Attempts to bring the thugs to order have usually been met with political interference from party big wigs.
At this juncture, we need the Spirit of people power to descend upon all professionally recognised associations, religious groups and civil society to start a nationwide peaceful demonstration against this formation of militias or vigilante groups. There should be a call for disbanding and disarmament since these thugs have according to media reports received all kinds of military training. The media should give a wide coverage to this demonstration.
Let all those who will keep quiet and sit on the fence know that like the proverbial climbing plant who refused to yield to tortoise’s advice to warn the noisy bird, when the proverbial hunter shoots the bird, there will be no one left in the forest.
We can borrow a leaf or two from the pages of Burkina Faso, Togo, Algeria, Tunisia, Egypt, and Sudan!
By: Alex Blege