The NPP’s “Invisible Forces” must be tackled immediately

Mon, 1 Jun 2015 Source: Bokor, Michael J. K.

By Dr. Michael J.K. Bokor

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Events culminating in the nastiness tearing the NPP apart have been long in the offing. They have been fuelled by deep-seated self-seeking manouevres, self-righteousness portrayals, and self-serving manipulations. I lay the blame at the doorstep of Akufo-Addo whose persistence to have things done as he wishes has deepened factionalism in the party and resulted in his followers’ bitter opposition to the tenure of Paul Afoko (National Chairman) and Kwabena Agyepong (General Secretary). The remote causes of this open show of hatred for Afoko and Agyepong can be traced to their supposed dislike for Akufo-Addo and a so-called covert “Agenda 2020” to botch his attempts at winning Election 2016.

But the immediate cause is the acid-bathing of Alhaji Adam Mahama, which is now spelling their doom, even though nothing has emerged so far to prove their complicity in a crime committed by people other than Afoko and Agyepong. Solving this problem is an uphill task; and as is being suggested, no one in the NPP seems ready or capable of dousing the fire that is consuming both its setters and their opponents. After all, who among the so-called NPP bigwigs is not either an Akufo-Addo follower or what?

There is no neutral person in this case. And who says that those digging deep into their factions will listen to a neutral voice? So, the internal crisis will deepen, more so when the flagbearer has chosen to sideline the embattled Afoko and Agyepong (as we saw during his press conference) and is pretending to know nothing about why they are being chased out of office. In any case, Akufo-Addo’s approach to the internal crisis won’t be the solution because he is a prime-mover of this very crisis. Let’s leave him to stew in his own mischief, then.

But we won’t lose sight of one very important fallout from this crisis. Apart from endangering our democracy, if the crisis in this opposition camp intensifies, it will call into question many other developments that have a serious national security interest.

Until the physical acts against Afoko and Agyepong began, none in the public knew of the existence of any “private security group” formed by the NPP to act as we’ve seen. The “Invisible Forces” (otherwise called “Invincible Forces”) is that security setup, which quickly seized the NPP’s national headquarters and vowed to prevent Afoko and Agyepong from entering their offices therein to do assignments. We heard the threats coming from Dennis Ahmed (Vice Chairman of the group) and cringed for several reasons.

We heard also the official comments from the constitutionally established national security apparatus, especially the Ghana Police Service, on how they were handling the security situation surrounding the rumpus in the NPP. Fortunately, the Ghana Police Service chose not to cross any line by physically inserting its personnel in the situation. Thus, no awkward event occurred between the police and personnel of the NPP’s “Invisible Forces”.

Today, we have been told that members of the “Invisible Forces” have heeded Akufo-Addo’s call and deserted the NPP headquarters to allow Afoko and Agyepong to enter their offices to work for the party. Huh?

How can Afoko and Agyepong return to their offices after all that has happened? After 8 of the 10 regional branches of the NPP have “dismissed” them from office and the NPP’s Council of Elders has written to them to step aside so peace could prevail in the party? After they have already been declared unfit to work for the party? Are they being entrapped? Another acid-bathing in the making? We wait to see what happens.

But while we wait, we won’t lose sight of the activities of the “Invisible Forces”. Since when has this private security group being in existence? Who formed it and who finances it may not be difficult to ascertain, especially if we see it as an NPP militant group to fight its cause.

Where is this group located? Where does it do its recruitment and training? Who are the trainers? What logistics/resources does the group have and how are these resources procured and stored?

We are asking these questions because we know what such groups constitute. They are nothing but cells that incubate noxious characters available for use by political malcontents. They are characters who are easily bought and used to terrorize systems.

I am not surprised that the NPP has such a group, clearly because I recall very well in the late 1990’s when the late Major Courage Quashigah made moves to establish “a private army” for the NPP. Those who don’t know it need to know it rightaway that such a move was very dangerous for the country because it sought to create a parallel security organization with the sole purpose of defending the interests of the NPP, although Ghana already has the appropriate security institutions to handle any situation in the country demanding security measures. I lost track of the Quashigah-inspired intention and haven’t been in Ghana that much to know how it ended.

But the emergence of this “Invisible Forces” reignites my interest in that development. Of course, there are many private security organizations operating in Ghana, providing security for installations and institutions at the behest of the owners of such structures. I believe that the owners of such private security organizations went through laid-down processes to register their groups and that their employees have been vetted and given the green-light to function as such. They are not aligned to political parties nor have they been mobilized to do what the NPP’s “Invisible Forces” have just done.

That is why the case of the NPP’s “Invisible Forces” reveals something disturbing. I know full well that militancy is the main motivation for such a group and that misfits kicked out from the mainstream national security apparatus are easy targets for recruitment. Disaffected retired military personnel embittered against the NDC administration over the years won’t be left out either. Unsuccessful applicants to the national security system are also easy targets. There are many other avenues for recruitment of characters to feed this “Invisible Forces”, which we should know.

In effect, my beef is that the “Invisible Forces” has already established itself as the NPP’s militant arm and must be closely monitored by the authorities. It must be thoroughly investigated and the appropriate actions taken to neutralize it if, indeed, facts reveal its true intents and purposes—to serve as the military wing of the NPP. Who doesn’t know how militancy is used by desperate politicians to cause trouble at election time or thereafter? Ghana doesn’t need this kind of militancy. It is the ballot box that must determine electoral Fate.

I am seriously urging the government to take immediate steps to do the right thing. Intriguing enough, the so-called security experts (especially Kwasi Anning of the Kofi Annan Peacekeeping Institute, or whatever it is) haven’t said anything on this development. They appear not to know the implications of the existence and operations of such a group (“Invisible Forces”) but will be the first to condemn anything done by the mainstream security apparatus that they think has political implications.

We shouldn’t wait for groups of this sort to become entrenched before acting to eradicate them. The factors promoting the terrorist groups in Africa (especially Boko Haram) are known. In our case in Ghana, religion may not be a motivation. It is political discontent and murderous intolerance that will engender such militant groups. From what has happened so far, I can say with all certainty that there is a lot happening that the government must sit up to address. I call for immediate action to dig into the existence of the “Invisible Forces” and to ensure that anything it does is monitored and exposed, especially in the interest of national security.

This is the time for the Bureau of National Investigation and other official security institutions capable of doing intelligence work to go to the field. They should move away from their desktop activities and activate their agent networks. In civilized democracies, institutions of their ilk are depended on and funded to do what national security and intelligence work entails. Their personnel distinguish themselves through pinpointed intelligence gathering, not competing with half-baked journalists for press releases to be able to write public reaction reports to the government. They distinguish themselves by being poles ahead of nation wreckers.

If the necessary groundwork is not done to set things right, we shouldn’t complain when nasty events happen during the main electioneering campaign season. We shouldn’t blame anybody if Election 2016 is characterized by violence. We shouldn’t appeal to the United Nations for help to solve security problems if, after the general elections, everything goes haywire if the defeated power-hungry candidate turns to militant groups to do his bidding.

I know that the NPP people are saying that unlike what they did after Election 2012, they won’t go to court after Election 2016. Not to impute an ill-motive to them, though, let me ask them where they intend to go. From what is unfolding, I have a hunch that they know what they have up their sleeves. If the implosion threatening their camp is anything to go by, I can foresee doom for them at Election 2016. What will they do? This is the time for action, folks!!!

I shall return…

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Columnist: Bokor, Michael J. K.