The activities of the vigilante groups belonging to the largest opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP), would be disbanded ahead of the 2016 general elections, the Police administration led by the tough-talking Inspector General of Police (IGP) John Kudalor, has indicated.
The NPP over the years, has been operating three vigilante groups namely; the Invincible Forces, Bolga Bulldogs, and Delta Force.
The party over the years, has been using these groups to terrorize voices of descent even within the party and in particular party supporters, who are opposed to the views espoused by the twice defeated standard bearer, Nana Akufo-Addo.
While, the vigilante group; the Invincible Forces is directly under the command of Captain Edmund Kojo Koda, who also heads the security detail of 73-year old NPP Presidential candidate, the Delta Forces, operates in Kumasi in the Ashanti Region, under the command of the Ashanti regional NPP Chairman, Bernard Antwi Boasiako alias “Chairman Wontumi”.
The gun-wielding Invincible Forces, are reported to have visited machete wounds on members of the Bolga Bulldogs, who are loyal to the ousted National Chairman, Paul Afoko.
The activities of the group in the latter part of 2015, compelled the Police administration to conduct a swoop at the Asylum Down Headquarters of the party in Accra; where some AK47 assault rifles were retrieved.
The governing National Democratic Congress (NDC) has in the past, been accused of running its own kind of the vigilante group, called the “Azorka Boys” named after the party’s Northern Regional Chairman, Sofo Azorka.
Nothing has been heard from them in a long while, apart from their protection of ballots boxes and provision of personal security for NDC national executives during last year’s parliamentary by-election in Talensi in the Upper East Region.
At the inauguration of the Elections 2016 National Security Taskforce, last Wednesday, January 20, IGP Kudalor, gave a strong indication that, the activities of the vigilante groups, would be disbanded ahead of the elections.
Mr. Kudalor, reminded the political parties of the need to inform the Police at all times of their electoral activities, especially rallies and political gatherings to ensure “we provide adequate security and map-out strategy to avert clashes between rival political parties during electioneering”.
According to him, the mandate of the Taskforce, is to ensure that the November 7 Presidential and Parliamentary polls, are conducted in an atmosphere of peace, devoid of any untoward activities from these vigilante groups operated by political parties.
Mr. Kudalor, added that the Elections 2016 National Security Taskforce, would also serve as the frontline elections intelligence collection, analysis and exploitation of information in support of law enforcement for national security.
The Taskforce included, personnel from the Ghana Police Service, Ghana Armed Forces, Ghana Immigration Service, Ghana Prisons Service, Ghana National Fire Service, and the Customs Division of Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA).
Mr. Kudalor, explained that the Taskforce, would engage stakeholders like the various political parties, the media, Electoral Commission, National Commission for Civic Education, National Peace Council, and all religious leaders across the country.
“The Taskforce will among other things, engage in continuous interactions with the public to ensure peaceful political atmosphere before, during and after the elections,” he said.
He noted the Taskforce, has a mandate to identify potential flash points and adopt more robust, professional and assertive security methods to deal with any potential threat to national security.
“The Police will not renege on its mandate to protect lives and property before, during and after Elections 2016, in fact our preparation started last year and we are preparing for the worst scenarios.
To the Police, every polling station is a potential hot spot, so we are ready to deal with criminal elements and politicians who will want to take the law into their own
hands and misbehave,” he said.
The IGP, said the Police Command, would be fair to all parties, without fear or favour, whilst the security services are determined to ensure that the November general election is as peaceful as possible.
He appealed to the public to obey the rules and regulations governing the conduct of the 2016 elections.