National Organiser of the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC), Kofi Adams has dispelled claims the party has outdoored a new vigilante group called ‘The Hawks’.
A number of heavily built men with branded T-shirts with the inscription ’The Hawks’ were seen leading the NDC’s Unity Walk on Saturday.
Snippets of information during the walk indicated the formation of the group by the NDC was to allegedly counter the NPP’s Invisible and Delta Forces.
The visible stout men, who conspicuously helped with crowd control, have been referred to as the new face of vigilantism by some members in the NDC.
Speaking to Neil-Armstrong Mortagbe on the Morning Xpress on Radio XYZ Monday morning, Mr. Adams was emphatic that the NDC did not unveil any group as such.
“We (NDC) did not outdoor any group…A lot of groups thronged the walk and one of such groups, they call themselves ‘the hawks’, we had the Kayayes, head porters, we had small-scale miners, the magazine people, we had traders. All manner of people joined and they had their banners and either they had their T-shirts (too),” he stated.
Mr. Adams said the NDC welcomes all manner of people who feel the country is “being governed in the wrong direction” and decide to join the walk.
Asked if ‘The Hawks’ had informed the party of their willingness to be recognized in the NDC as a vigilante group to support them, the NDC Organiser said “not that I’m aware of as National Organiser. My regional Chairman, my regional organizer for Ashanti region, my regional secretary for Ashanti region have not told me that they have received any such application from anybody in the region neither has any region told me that they have gotten a report from any such group.”
“The truth of the matter is that when if you go to a place and there are ten thousand persons, and you see well-built persons, even if they are ten (10) or twenty(20), they’ll be very visible…these are well-built guys. They say they call themselves Hawks so sure you’ll see them. They are men, when you say men, they are men,” said Kofi Adams who rubbished claims of planning to train the group as a vigilante group for the NDC.
Mr. Adams said individuals or a group of men have the right to engage in bodybuilding and join a walk so a picture should not be painted that ‘the hawks’ is a vigilante group or a group of outcasts.
The issue of ‘the Hawks’ comes at a time civil society groups, including the National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE), have kicked against political parties engaging the works of vigilante groups to spearhead their interests.
John Mahama’s Interest
The former president, H.E John Dramani Mahama, who has in the past frowned on vigilantism, led the NDC’s Unity Walk in Kumasi with some bigwigs of the party.
In an interview with GTV’s Abdul Momeen in January this year, Mr Mahama kicked against the activities of vigilantism in the Ghanaian political space and called on Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) to help prescribe pragmatic solutions to curb the menace.
Mr. Mahama said it is imperative that measures be taken to clamp down on the menace looking at the rampages such groups had carried out in the country since the New Patriotic Party (NPP) took over governance.
He mentioned that his party, the NDC, had a vigilante group, Azorka Boys, which he said, added to the problem but asked that the CSOs help tackle the menace before it breeds series of clashes.
“. . .and that is why the civil society groups must speak to vigilantism in a major way because it has the tendency to lead us into a spiral of violence. They must look into this thing and come up with prescriptions so that we can resolve these issues so that we don’t enter a more dangerous phase of our democracy,” he said
He continued that “We are entering a very dangerous phase with the rise in vigilante groups and I have heard some NPP Apparatchiks say they will not abolish the vigilantes and that they are going to use them… .when we were in government, they said they didn’t believe in the police service and that is why they set up those vigilante groups and now those vigilante groups all over the place. And so if the other parties also decide to put up vigilante groups all over the place, you can imagine the kind of clash we can expect.”