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NDC has ‘ballot protection unit’ not vigilante groups – Apaak

The National Democratic Congress (NDC) does not have any vigilante groups, the party’s Builsa South MP Dr Clement Apaak has said.

Rather, the biggest opposition party has a Ballot Protection Unit meant to secure the polls during elections.

According to the lawmaker, that unit is necessary since, in his view, the government is willing to intimidate its opponents with state security machinery.

Many civil society organisations have called on both the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP) and the opposition NDC to end acts of vigilantism by disbanding their vigilante groups, since their existence poses a threat to Ghana’s democracy.

While the NPP can boast of groups like Delta Force based in the Ashanti Region, Kandahar Boys based in the Northern Region and the Invincible Forces based in the capital, Accra; the NDC can boast of the Hawks based in Accra, Azorka Boys in the Northern Region, the Dragons based in the Brong Ahafo Region and the Lions based in the Eastern Region.

Despite these groups, Dr Apaak told Class91.3FM’s Executive Breakfast Show host Benjamin Akakpo on Tuesday, 5 February 2019 that the NDC has no vigilante groups.

He said: “I don’t think we have vigilantes, what we have is that, and our chairman was very clear, he said it when he was giving his acceptance speech when he was elected as chairman that we are going to put together a group to protect the ballot – a ballot protection unit.

“I don’t know whether that is vigilantism, but having the ability to monitor and ensure that the integrity of the polls can be upheld and that the will of the people is not subverted, shouldn’t be an issue. And it is particularly so when you have a regime that is willing to use state resources and apparatus to frustrate, to confuse or to create an atmosphere of insecurity as a way of intimidating opponents.”

Asked if he supports vigilantism, Dr Appak said: “I don’t subscribe to vigilantism, but I am fully in support of protecting the integrity and sanctity of the ballot … I, Dr Apaak, I don’t see anything wrong with mobilising a couple of guys from Builsa South to go to polling stations to be there to ensure that the proper thing is done. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that. The issue is if people go there and decide to engage in acts of lawlessness.”

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