Former National Coordinator of the Ghana School feeding programme and founding member of the NPP, Dr. Amoako Tuffour has revealed that vigilante groups were formed to protect ballot boxes and not to engage in violence.
He explained that political parties, especially those in opposition often need these vigilante groups to ensure that ballot boxes are protected and the election is conducted fairly.
According to him, vigilantism began in 1992 after the NPP led by Prof Adu Boahen lost terribly in the elections.
“Political vigilantism started in the period of the 1992 electoral sentiments from the NPP. At the time I and Rev Asante Antwi discovered NDC thumb-printed extra ballot papers which were not able to enter ballot boxes on refuse dumps. Adu Boahen, however, lost in that election”, he said.
“This gave us the idea of forming vigilante groups towards 1996 general elections. We formed vigilante groups purposely to protect the ballot boxes from being stolen by the NDC, not to engage in violence as it is today”, Dr. Tuffour added.
He further stated that the need became stronger when the NPP realized that some people were snatching ballot boxes at polling stations, thus pushing the party to establish the groups to guard against such behaviour.
Dr Tuffour said that groups consisting of volunteers such as the “Young elephants” were formed, however, as time went on some fights erupted while protecting the ballot boxes which demanded that well-built youth should rather take up the job, which led to the forming of stronger groups such as “Delta Force”, “Invincible Forces”, and others.
In recent times, vigilante groups claiming to be affiliated with the NPP in the Northern regions and Ashanti region have been engaged in violent activities which have been met with public outrage and steps by the government to deal with them.
www.primenewsghana.com/ Ghana News