‘NDC Has No Militia Group, Disband Yours’ – T. T Caternor Tells NPP
A National Communication team member of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), Tetteh Caternor has admonished the ruling New Patritic party (NPP) to dissolve their vigilante groups to curb election related violence ahead of the 2020 polls.
Mr Caternor, who is hoping to represent the La Dadekotopon Constituency on the ticket of the NDC in 2020, believes if the NPP is truthful and opens up a for a dialogue that will help disband all party millitias, the country’s electoral processes will be peaceful and inure to the development of Ghana.
The NPP has come under fire after Joy News unveiled the activities of a vigilante group associated with the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP) which trains at the Christiansborg Castle at Osu in Accra – former seat of government.
The investigative journalist, Manasseh Azuri Awuni, exposed the operations of the group known as ‘De-Eye Group’ and said the facility had been used by the militia group for close to two years.
In the documentary which was aired last Thursday, it emerged that sometimes the group offers protection to some state functions. Manasseh also revealed the group provided security at the Accra International Conference Centre on December 7, 2018 when the NPP held the ceremony at Centre to celebrate the legacy and launch a foundation of one of the founding fathers of the party, Simon Dombo.
They manned the gate to the Conference Centre and the main entrances to the Conference Hall.
The programme which had President Akufo-Addo a the special guest of honour was attended by almost everyone who matters in the NPP, including former President H.E John Agyekum Kufuor, Vice President Dr Mahamudu Bawumia and his wife Samira.
Disbanding Vigilante Groups
After the documentary was shown, Ghanaians have been wondering whether President Akufo-Addo was really committed to fighting political party millitia in the country as he disclosed during his state of the nation address last month.
He said the two parties were to meet and disband all vigilante groups aligned to the NPP and the NDC, following the Ayawaso West Wuogon by-elections in January this year that was characterised by shooting and violence believed to have been sanctioned by NPP vigilante groups.
But T. T Caternor who was speaking on Ete Sen on Radio XYZ 93.1 said the NDC’s position was that there be an independent mediator to lead the process of disbanding the militias.
To him, the process was very necessary although the NDC has no vigilante group on its own except a group of young men who owe allegiance to some members of the party.
“NDC as a party has no vigilante group,” Caternor remarked when he was quizzed on the activities of some groups such as ‘Azorka Boys’ and ‘The Hawks’ believed to be closer to the party.
He discounted reports that such groups were for the NDC, adding that the party has its “internal security” who help in the organisation of the party’s official events.
“Those are not vigilante groups…It is the NPP that has vigilante groups that need to be dissolved,” he added and cited the violence at Ayawaso West Wuogon constituency.
The role of independent mediators and civil society groups have been termed as very crucial in disbanding party militias.
A Former Minister for Gender, Children and Social Protection under the erstwhile Mahama administration, Nana Oye Lithur, on Monday backed the call of her national chairman, Samuel Ofosu Ampofo, to use an independent mediator in the process of dissolving the groups within the two main political parties of the country.
Speaking on Inside Politics on Radio XYZ 93.1, she observed the activities of such groups usually lead to pockets of violence during elections and end up marring the peace and stability of the country.
The NDC National Chairman had requested in a letter to president Akufo-Addo that the disbandment was not only limited to the New Patriotic Party and the National Democratic Congress but to “all political parties, civil society organisations, representatives of the media, representatives of the military, police and other security agencies, as well as other relevant stakeholders”.
But President Akufo-Addo, in his reply, rather said he “had hoped that the proposed meeting would be without preconditions on either side” – a response analysts have criticised.
A Civil Society Group- Eagles Forum described the respone as “worrying” although it commended Mr Akufo-Addo for calling on his party, the New Patriotic Party (NPP) and the opposition NDC to commence a dialogue to end the menace.
But Nana Oye Lithur said she supports calls to get a mediator in the process of dissolving such groups because she’s disappointed that the activities of the groups keep rising and endangering the country.
“The idea the NDC brought to involve civil society groups in a dialogue to disband Vigilante groups is the correct and accurate way to go,” she added and contended that the role of the civil society groups cannot be underestimated in such democratic processes.
“I support my Chairman Samuel Ofosu Ampofo to have a mediator in the process,” the former cabinet minister said as she criticised the NPP government for dragging its feet.