Ghana: Assessment of President Akufo-Addo, condemnation of vigilantes reported in Ghana

Accra, Ghana (PANA) - As President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo hits the first 100 days in power on Monday, governance institutions, political parties and individuals have been revealing their score cards on his performance.

“Assessing NPP’s 100-days: CDD slams vigilante groups, 110 ministers,” was the headline on the website of Accra-based citifm radio station on the assessment of the Centre for Democratic Development (CDD-Ghana), which, it said, had registered its displeasure with some decisions taken by the government.

It said CDD-Ghana, in a statement released on Wednesday, commended the president for speedily assembling his team in real time, but was not happy with the 110 ministers he had appointed as it would put pressure on the public purse.

“CDD-Ghana feels badly disappointed by president Akufo-Addo’s decision to appoint 110 ministers. It flies in the face of the president’s own declared commitment to protect the public purse as well as its longstanding good governance advocates' campaign for meaningful reduction in the size of government and resultant government spending.

We believe that the appointments of so many politicians to manage the state bureaucracy will further deepen its politicisation and undermine its authority,” the statement added.

CDD-Ghana said it was also not happy with government’s seeming silence on attacks perpetrated by some vigilante groups affiliated to the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP), mainly Delta Force and Invincible Forces.

“First, the many instances of NPP-affiliated vigilante groups’ forceful takeover of state assets and public facilities (including toilets, toll booths, school feeding programmes) and the unlawful seizure of vehicles of members of the previous administration put a dent on the hitherto smooth transition process.

“Worse still, the failure of the government, and law enforcement agencies to deal decisively with the NPP-affiliated vigilante groups, mainly the Delta and Invincible Forces, that invaded sensitive government installations such as the Passport Office and Tema Port, appears to have encouraged the recent brazen attacks on the Ashanti Regional Security Coordinator and a Circuit Court in Kumasi by the so-called Delta Force.”

CDD-Ghana further criticised the government for hurriedly sacking Metropolitan, Municipal and District Chief Executives as well as heads of some state agencies.

“Ghana in a state of insecurity under NPP – NDC,” was the headline of a story on the website of another Accra-based radio station, Starr FM, which stated that the main opposition National Democratic Congress, (NDC) had accused the Akufo-Addo led administration of plunging Ghana into an “insecure state”.

Addressing a press conference in Accra on Wednesday the Chairman of the NDC, Kofi Portuphy, said the mood of the nation had been that of “fear and insecurity” since the NPP took office.

“The impunity with which the NPP-sponsored gangs behave has cast a slur on Ghana’s democracy…We believe that the NPP government is complicit in the actions of the vigilante groups,” he said.

According to Portuphy, Ghanaians were already disappointed with the performance of the government adding that majority of Ghanaians who contributed to the overwhelming victory of the NPP had already lost confidence in the three-month-old administration due to the several controversies.

“I am optimistic that the NDC can regain power in 2020, Ghanaians are disappointed in the NPP government,” Mr. Portuphy said, adding “the mood of the nation has been one of fear and insecurity since the NPP took office”.

Meanwhile, the chorus of condemnation of pro-government vigilante groups has been growing louder with the churches and civil society groups criticising the government’s seeming inability to rein them in.

“IGP declares war in vigilantes,” was the headline of the state-owned Graphic newspaper which reported that following acts of lawlessness by some members of the Delta Force in Kumasi, the Inspector-General Police (IGP), Mr David Asante-Apeatu, had declared war on the activities of vigilante groups, mass disorder and disturbances.

He said acts of lawlessness by those vigilante groups had the propensity to cast a slur on the hard-won image of the country, adding: “As a nation, we have come very far in our democratic pursuit and we cannot afford to slip."

Speaking to reporters in Kumasi, the IGP described the acts of the vigilante groups as "infantile, reprehensible and un-Ghanaian” and condemned them in no uncertain terms.

The Graphic said the visit to Kumasi was precipitated by an incident in which 13 members of the Delta Force escaped lawful custody, with the aid of some of their members.

The outspoken immediate past Moderator of the Presbyterian Church of Ghana, Rev. Prof. Emmanuel Martey, has told President Akufo-Addo that he must not take Ghana backwards, saying: “Ghanaians are watching.”

Condemning the mayhem perpetrated by pro-government groups like Delta Force and Invincible Forces, Prof Martey described their actions are a “national shame”.

He said: “The methods of the pro-violent vigilante groups like the Invisible forces, Delta Force, Bolga Bulldogs, Western Crocodiles and all the rest with their unorthodox modus operandi have doubtlessly been a severe dent on the democratic credentials of our country and the earlier the government puts a halt to this national shame and puts damage control strategies in place, the better for our young democracy.”

He said Ghanaians were watching the president’s every move as he chalks 100 days in office.

“Minimise your mistakes; violence is violence no matter who commits it; violence is violence no matter who perpetuates it and must be condemned in no uncertain terms. Ghana must not be taken years or decades back, we must move rather forward into freedom and justice, progress and development in order to bring to fruition the vision of our political forebears,” Rev. Martey said.

The Graphic, in a story with the headline, “Catholic Bishops say Delta Force's action discredits Ghana,” reported that the Ghana Catholic Bishops’ Conference (GCBC) had condemned the attack on the Kumasi Metropolitan Assembly (KMA) Circuit Court by some members of the Delta Force describing it as lawlessness that only goes to discredit the country’s hard-won democratic credentials.

The bishops said they had noted with dismay the disregard for the rule of law exhibited by the vigilante group.

In a statement signed by the President of the GCBC, the Most Rev. Philip Naameh, the bishops, however, commended the Minister of the Interior, Mr Ambrose Dery, and the Inspector-General Police (IGP), Mr David Asante-Apeatu, for their prompt response to the incident and for committing to deal with any person or group that broke the law, irrespective of its political affiliation.

The Christian Council of Ghana (CCG) on its part blamed the conduct of Delta Force on big wigs in the ruling NPP.

According to the General Secretary of CCG, Rev Dr. Kwabena Opuni-Frimpong, some leaders in the party had consistently defended and endorsed the actions of the Delta Force, a situation which had emboldened them to carry out attacks.

“We cannot blame these boys for the raid. Those we need to blame are the big men behind these boys. They buy food for them, they clothed them, they do everything for them and so they need to be blamed and not the members because they are only doing what their pay masters have ordered them to do,” he said.

Meanwhile, President Akufo-Addo in his Easter message has condemned attacks on the judiciary by pro-government militant group by Delta Force and vowed to ensure the laws of the country are respected and applied without fail under his administration.

“It is for this reason that I regret so much the unfortunate incident that happened in Kumasi recently. Inasmuch as the law enforcement agencies and the judiciary have moved to apply the laws of our land, let me reiterate that it will not be under my watch that people act with impunity. Neither will it be under my watch that the laws of our land will not be respected,” he said.
-0- PANA MA 15April2017

15 april 2017 07:00:09




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