Managing Editor of the Insight Newspaper says comment by Interior Minister Mark Woyongo in defense of vigilante groups Azorka Boys who were involved in election violence at Talensi is intolerable.
Kwesi Pratt says it was unacceptable that a public official of his caliber will make such comments.
Speaking on Adom FM’s morning show ‘Dwaso Nsem’ he said “I think he has failed the nation. His justification of what the groups did is clearly untenable”.
The Minister of Interior has come under intense pressure to resign after he said on Kumasi based Ultimate Radio that the groups which carried out bloody attacks in Tuesday’s by-election in Talensi were just defending themselves.
He said “violence begets violence. Azorka boys will not act violent if they were not provoked. The other side also brought in some people…the Invincible Forces and then the Bolga Boys, so violence begets violence.
“What I mean is that if you are a peace lover and someone comes to attack you, definitely you have to protect yourself”, Mark Woyongo added.
Asked what the relevance of the police is if he is endorsing the action of the groups, the Minster said “if the police are not immediately available and someone is attacking you, won’t you defend yourself? he asked, insisting that “you will defend yourself until the police comes in”.
Mr Woyongo also described the violent groups as security outfits which only needed to be licensed.
“From now on we are going to ensure that those who operate have credible documents to operate as security agencies”.
However, his comment in defense of the violent groups has incurred the displeasure of Ghanaians with many calling for his immediate dismissal or resignation.
Mr Pratt says it is unbelievable that a Minister of Interior will say such things.
Such comments “should not come from the mouth of a minister. Why will he speak like that”, Pratt quizzed.
He also finds it totally unacceptable for the Minister to say that aside the Azorka Boys, he has no knowledge of the Bolgatanga Boys and the Invincible Forces.
“How can he say he has not heard about the existence of these groups before? Issues about Bolgatanga Bulldogs and Invincible Forces have been all over the place, how does he not know about them…is this a serious minister?”.
On the issue of legalizing the operations of the violent groups, Mr Pratt says “how are you going to regularize these groups, then what is the purpose of the police in the country? I am deeply saddened”.
He said the violence that occurred during the Talensi by-elections “should teach us that if we do not take concrete and immediate measures to end the formation of violent groups in political parties, we will be in deep trouble. It is time to start”.
Meanwhile, Chairman of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) in the Northern Region Chief Sofo Azorka (believed to be patron of Azorka Boys) has said his supporters were not violent during the election.
He explained that the only thing his men did was to prevent NPP and its supporters from sharing money to induce voters during the election.