John Boadu recounts day he was nearly beaten by NDC thugs
NPP General Secretary has traced the motivation for the formation of party militias putting it down to attacks from supporters of their arch political rival, the National Democratic Congress.
John Boadu told the Short Commission, a team of investigators who are probing into the violence that marred the Ayawaso West Wuogon by-election, that he recalled two such attacks on NPP supporters while in opposition.
He referred to violence in a presidential run-off in six polling stations in Akwatia in the Eastern region in December 2008 and another incident in Asutifi Asunafo area in the Bono Ahafo region during a re-registration exercise by the Electoral Commission.
There was also another incident in Chereponi in the Northern region in September 2009.
The NPP General Secretary said in the Akwatia incident, there was “a total breakdown of security” as supporters of the NDC refused to allow NPP figure Dan Botwe to work as a polling agent.”
He said the police obliged to the demands of the armed and angry NDC supporters and moved Dan Botwe from the tense scene. Violence would later break out as party supporters were assaulted, some suffering injuries.
John Boadu blamed the violence meted out on the lack of fortitude on the part of police officers.
In another incident in Chereponi during a by-election, John Boadu recounted how police officers backed the NDC’s agreement it had made with the NPP.
According to him, there was an agreement to have the NDC hold its final rally on Saturday while the NPP held their on Sunday, the eve of the by-election.
John Boadu said at the rally which was also addressed by then Vice-President John Mahama, the party went ahead to announce it will hold another rally on Sunday.
The rally, it was announced, was going to be held in front of the residence of the NPP candidate for the by-election.
According to him, the NPP reported the breach of the agreement to the Yendi Divisional police commander. They were ignored he said with the explanation the police has been instructed to provide security for both rallies on Sunday.
More provocations was to follow after NDC supporters organised a route march on Sunday and marched through the same venue where the NPP was arranging their logistics for the rally.
Commotion ensued and violence followed, he said.
In his final story of thuggery, John Boadu recalled a more recent incident in 2016 during a re-registration exercise at Asutifi Asunafo in the Bono Ahafo region where he had received reports of brutalities on NPP supporters.
John Boadu said although he usually drives alone, “for whatever reason I decided when I got to Kumasi, I asked some of our young men to join me to the area.”
At Asutifi Asunafo, John Boadu said his company was confronted by a man he named as Naaba, a brother to a minister in the NDC government Collins Dauda. The police, he said stood there helpless.
Naaba’s men, wielding guns, machetes and cudgels threatened and vowed to “deal with me,” Mr. Boadu told the Commission Monday.
“Everybody was running for cover…I had to dash for cover” he recalled frightening scenes.
“We were lucky that a police station was closer to the polling station” he said explaining he sought refuge there along with his men.
“The police commander did extremely well,” he praised, and explained he pulled out an AK-47 rifle and fired some warning shots.
According to him Naaba and his assailants fired back. The NPP General Secretary said it would have been a “different story” if he had gone to the area alone. The constituency chairman, he said, has problems bending his neck as a result of the assault.
“If I had not had the services of these young men on that day …it would have been catastrophic”, John Boadu said.
The Asutifi Asunafo incident, he said, is a personal example of how he has been a beneficiary of having private security.
These private security groups have metamorphosed into militia groups. The NPP has Invincible Forces, Delta Forces and Kandahar Boys.
Mr. Boadu insisted the party does not form or fund these groups and admitted their existence have been beneficial in the face of a failed police protection.
He said one of the ways to address the menace of militias is to remain firm and professional in their duties.
He said perceptions of a compromised police service compel individual to form groups for purposes of self-defence.
The party, he said does not have militias, but does have its own security arrangements.