I a rather curious twist, the National Security Secretariat has denied claims by former President John Mahama and the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) that the government is training an armed militia to cause mayhem during the 2020 elections.
Following the circulation of videos and photographs of an odd gang of men being trained in sophisticated tactical military drills, former President Mahama officially confirmed that his outfit and the opposition party has evidence to prove that the ruling government was training party thugs to be masked as security agents whose sole purpose would be to cause electoral mayhem in 2020.
However, a statement issued by Major Ignatius Awuni (Rtd), the Head of Public Information Department at the Ministry of National Security said the trainees are members of the National security and not party thugs.
“Since 2009, recruits into this outfit have been provided with standard training. No persons other than regular national security staff are trained by the Secretariat at the facility. Although owned by the National Security Secretariat, the facility is managed and run on day to day basis by the Ghana Armed Forces. Other non-security state agencies and private institutions also use the facility to train their staff,” the statement read.
“The makers of these allegations who are immediate past government officials are very familiar with these training programs even including similar ones conducted during their tenure. It is therefore unfortunate for such persons to seek to bastardize this standard and routine training exercises for political ends,” the statement read.
However, this the statement is in stark disregard for recommendations made by the Emile Short Commission which called for all sort of standing military personnel of the National Security to be disbanded.
President Akufo Addo instituted the Emile Short Commission after a group masked and armed personnel parading as national security agents stormed the Ayawaso West-Wuogon Constituency on December 31, 2018 during a by-election there and unleashed mayhem on civilians and political opponents.
This rag-tag group fired live bullets at civilians, seriously injuring several people. They also physically attacked a sitting Member of Parliament (MP), Sam Nettey George of Ningo-Prampram Constituency.
The New Patriotic Party (NPP) has pushed through an anti-vigilante bill in parliament, but critics think the ruling party is only paying lip-service to the fight against political thuggery-particularly when an undercover investigation by Joy News revealed that the party was training a group of militias (De-Eye Group) at the former Presidential Palace at the Christianburg Castle in Osu-Accra.