(GIN)—Once the envy of its neighbors and the model of democracy and the rule of law, Ghana has been struck by “vigilantism,” led by former security guards turning against the political parties that once hired them.
Most recently, former political party guards going by the name “Delta Force” stormed the Kumasi Circuit Court, in the heart of the Ashanti Cultural Center, to free 13 of their colleagues accused of forcibly throwing out the newly appointed Ashanti national security liaison officer, who they “couldn’t relate to.” The incident was deplored by the head of the U.N. Office for West Africa and the Sahel, Mohamed Ibn Chabas, and the resident coordinator of the U.N. system in Ghana, Christine Evans-Klock.
The action by gang members linked to the ruling New Patriotic Party was also condemned by the Ghana Catholic Bishops Conference, who called the acts “wanton disregard for the legitimate work of state institutions.” Besides vandalizing court property, the group appeared to have threatened the judge, who had to be ushered out of the courtroom by police.
But according to ruling party vice chair, Joe Donkor, the vigilantes are just seeking compensation of some sort for their tireless work to secure an electoral victory in last year’s polls.
That theory was confirmed by Delta Force member Ernest Appiah Dankwa in a press interview.
“We worked for the party [NPP] to come into office…places we were not supposed to go, we went, and for eight years we left our jobs and laid down our lives for the party,” he told citifmonline. “Since the party’s victory, however, the national security minister wants nothing to do with us and says we should retire.”
He warned, “If that is how they will deal with us, we will all cross carpet and join the [defeated National Democratic Congress], and we shall see what will happen in 2020.”
Three days after the incident, President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo gave a tepid response, assuring Ghanaians that everything was being handled appropriately.
According to the Centre for African Democratic Affairs, “Electoral violence during by-elections over the past four years was all laced with avoidable violent incidences orchestrated by ‘militant groups’ supported by known political parties. But surprisingly there was neither arrest nor prosecution of any kind, this has over the period emboldened perpetrators and have now become daring and acting with impunity even in the presence of the state security.”
To say the least, says CADA, this attitude of turning a blind eye is unacceptable and will only serve to dent the image of the Electoral Council in the eyes of the international community and some concerned citizens in the country.