John Boadu defends vigilante groups
The General Secretary of the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP), Mr John Boadu, has explained the use of well-built men now described as party militias to provide security for political parties.
This came to light on Monday, 4 March 2019, when Mr Boadu appeared before the Commission of Inquiry set up by President Nana Akufo-Addo to probe the violence that marred the Ayawaso West Wuogon by-election on 31 January 2019.
Some National Security operatives temporarily disrupted the by-election at the La-Bawaleshie basic school polling station when they fired into the crowd that had gathered at the private residence of the NDC’s candidate close to the polling centre.
The masked men also beat up unarmed civilians and assaulted a member of parliament, Sam Nartey George in the melee.
Apart from the Commission of Inquiry, the president has also tasked the leadership of the two major political parties to disband any militias attached to the parties.
Asked by the Commission why any political party will need additional security apart from the one provided by the police, Mr Boadu said: “We, as political parties, it will be very difficult for police to provide [security]. Particularly, if you have groups of people who outnumber the police at a particular polling station”.
He continued: “We have had occasions where ballot boxes are snatched, we had occasions where even voters queuing to vote are prevented from doing so and sometimes the police seem helpless”.
Citing an example to back his comments, Mr Boadu said in 2016 or 2017, there was a re-registration exercise and he was dispatched to Tamale.
“When I got to the polling station, the police was sitting very far from where the registration exercise was going on and you can see clearly people that are not of age, by their size, you can see. So, I asked the policeman … and he said if I have seen that they are not of voting age I should go and sack them from the queue, and you can imagine what it will look like in a polling station in Tamale. I was then the National Youth Organiser”, he narrated.
He told the Commission that one “could imagine what it could have led to” if he had attempted to remove the alleged underage persons from the queue.