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General News of Monday, 6 November 2017

Source: Myjoyonline.com

I will walk new path to fight 'criminal' vigilante groups - Akufo-Addo

President Nana Akufo-Addo is making a new commitment to fighting the incidence of violence and political party vigilantism across the country.

Describing them as “criminals” the president said he will do everything in his power to stem the tide of political violence by party youth in the country.

Speaking to the President of the National House of Chiefs, Togbe Afede XIV, Monday, the president said he would be “walking another path” to finding a solution to the canker.

The country has been inundated with acts of violence by political party youth affiliated to the governing New Patriotic Party. Even though there were acts of political party violence under the previous administration, the situation got worse with the coming into power of the New Patriotic Party (NPP).

The youth have taken a path of violence in seeking a portion of the national cake.

In their haste to seek non-existent jobs, the youth have attacked several state institutions including the Youth Employment Agency (YEA), School Feeding Secretariat and the National Health Insurance Authority.

They have chased out officers of the state appointed by the previous government as well those new appointees whose appointment they disagree with.

In a height of political impunity, members of the Invincible Forces broke into the offices of the Ashanti Region Security apparatus and bundled out the regional security coordinator who had been appointed by the president.

They claim the appointee, Mr George Adjei played no role during the elections to bring the NPP to power.

They would rather another appointee, a member of the Invincible Forces was appointed.

In the wake of the attack on the security coordinator, suspects were arrested by the police and subjected to criminal prosecutions.

In a record-breaking act of political impunity, the members of the Invincible Forces broke into the court verbally assaulted the judge, freed the suspects and made nonsense of the entire justice delivery system.

Even though the original suspects who attacked the security coordinator and who escaped from the custody of the court were rearrested, the Attorney General had to file a nolle prosequoi on the case involving the court invasion because she did not have the evidence to proceed with the prosecution.

As if that was not enough, there have been several other attacks on individuals by members of the vigilante groups loyal to the NPP.



New commitment

The president has made several commitments in the past to fight the canker, all of which appear to have yielded little or no fruit.

At a meeting with Togbui Afede to discuss several other issues, including government’s flagship one district, one factory policy, the issue of political vigilantism came up.

The president assured he would use his tenure to put an end to the culture of political vigilantism which predates his coming into office.

“On the new phenomenon of vigilantism, I will do everything in my power to arrest its development. I will not walk the path others trod who found it convenient to turn a blind eye to the criminal misdeeds of their followers and took no action, as it would displease them.

“I am 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.”



It is not clear yet exactly what new path the president will be walking to provide an antidote to the political violence.

However, the Interior Minister, Ambrose Dery had only recently stated that regional police commanders who fail to arrest and begin the process of prosecution of criminal party youths will also be dealt with.

In Karaga in the Northern Region and parts of the Upper West Region some of the constituency executives of the NPP who were part of violent attacks on the regions' YEA and NHIA offices, are facing criminal prosecutions.

It remains to be seen if these political criminals, as Akufo-Addo described them would be sentenced to jail terms.