The Ministry of National Security has rubbished claims by former President John Mahama that the New Patriotic Party (NPP) government is training vigilantes to cause chaos during the 2020 general election.
A statement issued by the ministry and signed by Major (Rtd.) Ignatius Awuni, Head of Public Information Department, said, “National Security Council Secretariat has taken note of allegations that the National Security Training School at Asutuare is being used to train party vigilante groups ahead of the 2020 general election.”
“The Secretariat hereby informs the public that this allegation is false and a deliberate effort to create false impressions about standard training programmes of national security recruits.”
The statement added that “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.”
The statement also said, “The makers of these allegations who are immediate past government officials are very familiar with these training programmes even including similar ones conducted during their tenure. It is, therefore, unfortunate for such persons to seek to bastardize these standard and routine training exercises for political ends.”
It said that “the Secretariat assures the general public that it will at all times ensure that it works to promote rather than undermine the security of the state.”
The former President, who is the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) candidate for the 2020 presidential election whilst addressing executives of the Ghana Journalists Association (GJA) in Accra recently, claimed that the NPP government was training some of its members at Asutuare for Election 2020.
He said specifically, “Since then, we have evidence that those people have been to Asutuare and trained in batches over and over again in all kinds of combat techniques and other things,” adding “it’s a worry that Ayawaso West Wuogon will be repeated on a larger scale than it did.”
“This was only a by-election but the way things are going and from what we are hearing, it is possible that some sinister force is preparing to wreak violence during the [general] elections and this is something that we must look at,” he pointed out.
Large Scale Violence
He had also said he was hoping that the violence that occurred during the Ayawaso West Wuogon by-election on January 31 would not be repeated on a larger scale in 2020.
“We remember what happened in Ayawaso West Wuogon. I pray that, God forbid, nothing like that ever happens again. But you know the issue of vigilantes, especially one party is training vigilantes,” he said, adding “I remember at the time of Ayawaso West Wuogon, there was a letter that came out asking party executives to bring able-bodied people to be trained as security.”
Earlier, the ruling NPP stated categorically that it is not training any militia to disrupt the 2020 general election and accused former President Mahama of peddling falsehood.