President Nana Akufo-Addo has stated that he will not allow vigilantism and criminal misdeeds to fester under his leadership.
He stated that: “On the new phenomenon of vigilantism, I will do everything in my power to arrest its development”.
The president said he “will not walk the path” paved by others “who found it convenient to turn a blind eye to the criminal misdeeds of their followers and took no action.”
He emphasised that he is “walking another path, the path of making reality the principle of the rule of law, the idea of equality of every citizen before the law”.
“Wrongdoers wear no political colours. They are just wrongdoers, and will be dealt with as such,” he assured in a post on his Facebook wall on Monday, 6 November.
Nana Akufo-Addo’s comments follow reports of political vigilantism associated with the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP).
There were reports of violence in the Upper West Region as rioters locked up the office of the District Chief Executive (DCE) for Sissala two weeks ago.
Some angry youth of the party in Gwollu, in the Sissala West District, chased out the DCE for the area, Mohammed Bakor before shutting his office.
According to Iddrisu Waaleka, the constituency coordinator, the youth wanted their preferred candidate to be appointed the coordinator for the Micro-finance and Small Loans Centre (MASLOC) for the district.
They felt the DCE betrayed them after having several engagements with him, and party leaders failed in securing the job for their candidate.
Another incident in Karaga in the Northern Region caused the District Chief Executive and the NPP Youth Organiser, who is also the Youth Employment Agency Director, to flee the area due to violence among some supporters of the party.
Mr Alhassan Yabdoo and Mohammed Baba fled to Tamale for dear life.
There have also been conflicts between the party supporters over recruitment of some youth into the Community Policing module under the Youth Employment Agency.
This resulted in some skirmishes between supporters of the Constituency Chairman, Ziblim Zakaria, and the Youth Organiser in the area.
The latest of the reports is the alleged interference and assault on the Presiding Member and other Assembly Members of the Ada East District and the snatching of ballot boxes during the polls to endorse President Akufo Addo’s nominee for District Chief Executive (DCE) Sarah Dugbakie Pobee.
Presiding Member, Aka Simon Kobla, said he was physically assaulted by the thugs in the presence of the Deputy Minister and District Police commander and dragged out of the hall.
Narrating how things unfolded during voting to Class FM, he said: “I saw many of them in black shirts, well built and claiming that they were National Security, but I said there was nothing for me to identify them by so they should be out of the room. They refused…I even told the Police Commander of Ada Division to take him out but he told me he cannot walk anybody out.”
He continued: “At the end of the voting, when ballot papers were not sorted…they entered and they started beating me up, hitting me with the chairs that the people were sitting on and then dragged me until two of the policemen came to rescue me and I went and sat in a pickup for some time and then I came out and left. They were calling me to come and witness the counting, but I refused because they took the ballot box away and then they changed it.”
He said: “The Regional Electoral Officer went ahead to empty the ballot box and declared her [nominee] as the winner. I’m yet to know the exact figures; I didn’t sign any declaration form.”
Another Assembly member, John Kubi, told Valentina Ofori-Afriyie on Class FM’s 505 programme that: “They (thugs) entered just after the last person voted and the electoral officer was about to open the ballot box. They entered and beat up the Presiding Member and other Assembly members and made away with the ballot box.”
He said their motive was to “declare the nominee at all cost that she must be the DCE for Ada, meanwhile, these Invincible Forces are not coming from Ada but they want to elect a DCE for Ada”.
According to him “they made away with the ballot box and about one hour’s time, they came with it, we were not there. Later we heard they declared the results themselves and said the nominee has won”.
At the end of polls, she secured 27 out of 36 valid votes. This was after two unsuccessful attempts earlier that saw her fall short of the required two-third majority endorsement.
There have been more than 20 such vigilante attacks by pro-NPP groups since the NPP won the December 2016 elections.