Government has described claims by the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) that it is training militias at the Asutsuare military training camp in the Eastern Region as fictitious.
Deputy Defence Minister, Major (Rtd) Derek Oduro, said nothing of that nature is ongoing at the training camp and that there was no way the Ghana Armed Forces will agree to such a scheme.
“That is baseless, it has no substance. The Ghana Armed Forces does not accept any political party in any of its military barracks or camps.
“If you put any party paraphernalia or sticker on your car, you cannot enter Burma Camp. They will tell you to remove it if you want to enter the camp or go back. It is never, ever true,” he said in an interview on Joy FM’s Top Story.
Former President John Mahama made the allegations that the NPP was planning to wreak havoc during the 2020 elections when he met with the President of the Ghana Journalists Association (GJA) last week.
Mr Mahama claimed that a letter by the Upper West Security Council requesting that some members of the governing NPP be presented for combat training for next year’s election was proof.
According to him, after following up on that letter it has emerged that the party indeed has sent these executives to Asutuare in the Greater Accra Region to be trained.
He described the situation as worrying, fearing that that singular decision can destabilise the country.
The NPP has categorically denied the allegations.
But the NDC, certain of their allegation – one they claim can be proven with videos circulating on social media – is warning of danger.
According to Director of Elections, Elvis Afriyie Ankrah, the party is under pressure from its supporters to arm itself ahead of the 2020 election to counter what the governing NPP is doing.
Major Derek Oduro is convinced the NDC is simply desperate.
“The NDC can do anything…I have not heard or seen any move by the NPP party to train anybody in any of the military institutions,” he said.
He added that if at all there is any training ongoing at any of the military training camps, it certainly must be for legitimately recruited personnel.
“Recruitment procedures were followed, they are not militias. They are proper recruits who will soon become professional soldiers. We are not training any militias there,” he insisted.
Major Oduro said President Akufo-Addo couldn’t enact a law banning the activities of party militias only to turn around, through unacceptable means, to train such people.
“Have we exhausted all the police, military and other security agencies,” he queried, adding “if we want more we will train more…Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo will never ever do that.”
If the NDC maintains it claims, Major Oduro advises that they should take any evidence they have to the police, otherwise their only intention is to “create fear and panic.”
A security analyst, Col. (Rtd) Festus Aboagye doubts if the Deputy Defence Minister’s response settles the issue. At least not in the media.
He is, however, encouraged “that the NDC is engaging with the National Peace Council. That is one avenue that I think Ghanaians must repose a great deal of confidence in.
“The Peace Council together with other institutions like the CHRAJ [Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice] and so on should really take these allegations seriously,” he added.
He stressed the need for the issue to be settled before campaigning for the 2020 elections start.