Former President Kufuor condemns vigilante groups

Former President J. A. Kufour
Former President J. A. Kufour

Former President John Agyekum Kufuor has condemned the establishment of vigilante groups in the country ahead of the Presidential and Parliamentary elections.

He said the activities of these groups suggest instability and irregularity and that the nation must not entertain such organisations because they create unnecessary tension in the society.

Mr Kufuor said the country’s security agencies are up to the task and it behooves the agencies to work together and ensure peace before, during and after the December polls.

He was speaking when a delegation from the National Democratic Institute (NDI) and the International Republican Institute (IRI) paid a courtesy call on him in his residence to assess preparations for the country’s impending December elections.

It could be recalled that Mr Prosper Bani, the Minister of the Interior had the police administration to ban the activities of private security forces associated with political parties.

The Azorka Boys from Tamale, who are associated with the ruling National Democratic Congress, and the Bolga Bulldogs, associated with the opposition New Patriotic Party, allegedly clash during political activities and elections.

Some other politically motivated vigilante groups have been involved in violent clashes, resulting in the destruction of property, while a number of people have either been wounded or lost their lives.

Mr Kufuor said the role of the Electoral Commission (EC) is critical as far as elections is concerned and urged the Commission to be fair and firm in discharging its duties in an effective and efficient manner.

He said the country is seen as a peaceful nation because it has had successful elections and adhered to democratic values and principles.

Former President Kufuor said the world is watching to ensure that these values are replicated in the coming elections.

He commended stakeholders including the Peace Council, religious bodies, civil society organisations and other bodies in ensuring that the country conducts the elections in an atmosphere of peace devoid of hate speech.

Mr Johnnie Carson, former US Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs said the purpose of the mission is to support the country’s ability to deliver credible and peaceful elections in 2016.

Mr Carson said the delegation would meet with members of the EC, presidential candidates, political party leaders, members of parliament, civil society representatives and journalists, and would present its findings at a news conference in Accra on Friday, August 12.

The NDI is a non-profit, nonpartisan organisation working to support and strengthen democratic institutions worldwide through citizen participation, openness and accountability in government.

The IRI is a non-profit, non-partisan organisation dedicated to advancing freedom and democracy worldwide.

IRI enables political parties to become more issue-based and responsive, helps citizens to participate in government planning, and works to increase the role of marginalized groups in the political process.

The delegation includes Mike Avwenayeri Igini, former Resident Electoral Commissioner for Nigeria’s Cross River and Edo States, Ms Oby Ezekwesili, Senior Advisor, Africa Economic Development Policy Initiative and Mr Gabrielle Bardall, Scholar and Democracy Assistance Specialist for the Trudeau Foundation.

The rest are Christopher Fomunyoh, Senior Associate and Regional Director for Central and West Africa, NDI; and John Tomaszewski, Regional Director for Africa, IRI.

Source: GNA

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