‘Vigilante Groups Formed To Protect Ballot Boxes Not Violence’

A founding member of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), Dr Kwame Amoako Tuffour has disclosed that opposition political parties needed vigilante groups to protect ballot boxes during elections and not to engage in violence.

“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,” he explained.

Vigilante groups have in recent time become an albatross on the neck of the country which government is trying to clamp down.

Both the New Patriotic Party (NPP) and the National Democratic Congress (NDC) have however not denied the fact that they have vigilante groups operating as their internal security apparatus.

According to Dr Tuffour, vigilantism started during the 1992 general elections which his party led by Professor Albert Adu-Boahen lost miserably leading to the authoring of the infamous book ‘the stolen verdict.’

“Political vigilantism started in the period of the 1992 electoral sentiments from the NPP, at the time I and Rev Asante Antwi discovered th NDC thumb-printed extra ballot papers which were not able to enter ballot boxes on refuse dumps resulting in Adu-Boahen loosing the elections.

“This gave us the idea of forming vigilante groups towards the 1996 general elections,” Dr Tuffour added.

He indicated that the NPP also realised people were snatching ballot boxes at polling stations which forced the leadership of the party at the time to establish the vigilante groups which was the surest way of guarding electoral materials used in rigging.

According to him, his party started recruiting ‘volunteers’ which gave birth to ‘Young Elephants’ and lauded the groups for the work they did in supporting the party.

He pointed out that in the course of protecting ballot boxes at a particular time fighting erupted which prompted party leaders to rely on heavily built youth to do the job which eventually led to the springing up of groups like ‘Delta Force’ and others.