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A transcript of the explosive secret recording of the speech by Samuel Ofosu-Ampofo, chairman of the National Democratic Congress, to party communicators.

A transcript of the explosive secret recording of the speech by Samuel Ofosu-Ampofo, chairman of the National Democratic Congress, to party communicators.

First of all, let me say good evening and to thank you for the kind of work you are doing and the challenges we have had to go through in the past few days. I myself, I call it a baptism of fire, because if you were in my shoes you would really appreciate what we had to go through.

First of all, let me admit that even though the party was aware that NPP would always resort to violence when we go to by-election, the scale and the combination of state security forces against a party has never happened in the history of Ghana.

Training thugs at Sanko

I have gone to by-elections … It is always either an NPP group against NDC group, slugging it out, and the police showing a little bias here and there. But for you to see the level of deployment, sheer numbers, the firepower and, of course, the fact that these were not trained security personnel.

We picked intelligence very late the previous night when they went and recruited people from Odododiodoo.

In fact, in Odododiodoo, the youth organiser even came in a rush to Sanko, where we were training our people, to come and tell us Nii Adjei Blankson and others, the kind of weapons that they distributed. What happened in Agbogbloshie, people they picked from there.

So, we picked all these things and we have some of our colleagues and people there. And the plan they were hatching and the extent to which they wanted to go. If you have all this information, we thought that if they would even unleash violence, it will be late in the evening when they realise they are not winning.

In fact, they did everything, including thumb-printed ballot boxes [sic], which were going to be put in military hover in the heat of the elections as if they want to restore violence [sic]; they pick it and then … we had all those info.

“We don’t want to die”

So, we thought that look, this thing is going to go late so let’s watch how it begins. Some of our security guys, I don’t want to mention names, we tried to put some teams together. But when it started, the rate at which it came, in fact, if you were with me when I went to Legon Hospital, I saw the blood flow and the life-threatening injuries, and I was getting calls from Bawaleshie, from Abelenkpe, from East Legon; it is like co-ordinated.

When I saw this thing and the calls were going, I thought that, “Look, this thing was co-ordinated and if we are not careful, the number of casualties, we cannot handle.” So, I spoke to one or two of our intelligence capos and they said, “Oh, let’s wait till about 9.30 and see how …” When I got to the PC, the house, it was chaotic, the blood flow, everything.

The parliamentary candidate himself I had to go through a hall, go to another hall to the third place, and the whole place was choked. And the cry of our party people was, “Look, we can’t do this election again. We don’t want to die.”

And there was pressure on me. So I called him again. Fortunately, around the same time Honourable [name inaudible] came with me, so we had to do some consultations with the candidate and then weigh the options and see. We were not in a state of preparedness to call for even reinforcement from anywhere.

Hawks unleashed

As Captain Asase Gyimah said, how do you call people with bare hands to go and face this force? Any intelligent person will say, “Let’s weigh the options. This is a by-election. When we even lose the seat, it doesn’t make any difference.”

Why should they slaughter? Because the tendency is that Hawks were being unleashed into the constituency and their determination is to mow them down, as many as possible, to let the Hawks and others know that: “Look, you are nothing.” So why can’t we prevent that?

At the same time, there was mixed communications about the number of deaths. And it was all over the place that already two people are dead, and as a party leader, how do I encourage people to go and face this fire and die? So I had no option. I had no option.

That is why I was tactical in saying that we are withdrawing our party agents because, you see, we are not in charge of elections.

Decision to withdraw

We can’t stop the election. People who are leaving their homes to go and vote, I don’t have control over them. I can’t ask them not to go and vote. But I have control over party people I had deployed as party people and they were under attack.

And so, the best I can do, and they were in various places ‒ I did not know what was happening to them. And so once I had a fair idea of what was happening, to save them, the best thing is to recall them and bring them to a centre where we can either brief them [or] decide whether to go back.

So, my brothers and sisters, it was a very, very difficult decision. At the same time, we also thought that if we continued this election and we win, the violence aspect will be swept aside. If we lose, we have gone through the full haul so the discussion will be normal electoral violence.

So, tactical withdrawal was to then place the issue in proper context so that every focus will be on what the government is doing. And that is what we have largely succeeded in achieving. And for the first time, UNDP, they have never waded into these issues.

EU delegation had called one of our senior comrades and said that, look, they are going to rethink their funding of the 2020 elections, because you know EU is a major stakeholder in terms of funding. So we can then push for proper …

Decision is challenged

My worry, a little, was the fact that in situations like this you may disagree with the decision but you don’t have to challenge leadership decision. And in the middle of this, some people decided to issue [audio inaudible]. For me, it was the most unfortunate thing because when people are being mowed down and are being killed and leadership has given a certain direction …

There was pressure on me from certain angles that I should change the position. I said I will never change the position. I spoke to a lot of people and they say this is a decision that I believe was in the interest of the party.

[Some people] were vehemently opposed to it but when cool heads started reflecting on the whole process, there are people who called me and said: “Initially we were angry with you.”

Not a “cowardice decision”

I mean, we have Chief Azorka in our meeting saying, “Chief, thank you. If you had not taken this decision I don’t know how my men would have gone back to Tamale.”

The issue is that they had brought the Kandahar Boys and the Kandahar Boys know our [Azorka] boys from Tamale, so it was a targeted attack. So once they spot us, they invite them.

Around that time our people were so defenceless. And they have packed themselves in pick-ups, so cordoning off and harming them was very, very easy. And they had not anticipated all these things.

So it hasn’t been easy, but for me how we take the battle from here is most critical. It is a question of mindgame. I was here because I thought that we should come and lift your spirit up and let you know that it was not a cowardice decision, it was a strategic decision that will benefit us …

“We’ll go after them”

I want to assure you that as long as I remain the leader of our party, my approach to elections and security has completely changed … and we need to marshal all the human and material resources.
Yesterday, I was speaking to him and I said that, “Look, you have to get to work. Probably, one of our security people who can still drive and at the same time give you protection. Some covert and overt operations.”

We will go after them. But we will not go after them face to face. We have to use tactical approaches to make life very uncomfortable for some of them. We will target some people and we will let the people know that their life is in danger and once they know their life is in danger they themselves will be careful.

As for that one, I want to assure you that we will go all out to ensure that. As President John Mahama said, when it comes to this game, in fact, we are better than them.

Take people hostage

The security and future survival of our country is at stake. So, first of all, our people have identified a number of them.

I don’t know if you have heard but somebody had called me that one of them is dead and gone. Whether heart attack or whatever. You see, three days ago, and yesterday those who were living in Nima and Maamobi, nobody has slept in his house.

So you see that now we have a tactical advantage. Nobody has slept in his house.

They even went to attack traders; some imams had to come and plead for them. People will also start capturing your mothers and fathers and keeping them hostage until you show yourself up. So, we need to go back quickly to the drawing board and strategise.

Insults Reverend Asante

There are CSO and religious organisations, especially the Peace Council chair. For the first time, I will endorse insulting the Peace Council chair. [Loud clapping]

I like that. We have already started.

Plot against Akufo-Addo

Once we are focusing our attention on Akufo-Addo, and in fact I think that we should not focus too much on the IGP. In fact, a policewoman called me and said, as for them, they regard the IGP as a civilian because the man is retired and once you have retired, as an IGP … this came from a policewoman. And so even though we will bash the IGP, I think that the whole thing was political so we must situate the communication on the President, who is the Commander-in-Chief and who controls the security agencies, and how he has shown his true colours as a very violent person.

We traced the antecedent from when he became a flagbearer and what he did to his own chairman and others and created a culture of silence and beat people up and did all sorts of things and has brought him into government.

We need to expose him so that tomorrow, as my brother said, if NDC decides that we are also organising ourselves, which of course we are going to organise and organise ourselves well, then gradually we have shifted the attention on to them. In fact, when people hear of violence in by-election, they will be thinking about Invincible Forces and the rest so we will quietly be doing our own thing.

Party security

So, this is the briefing that I want to give and say that the party itself is going to come out with a number of policy initiatives. First, we are going to set up a security and intelligence unit within the party and appoint a national co-ordinator, a regional co-ordinator and constituency co-ordinator.

We will be picking some of our intelligence people, BNI people, National Security people, so that we can read and plan effectively, because you see military people are military people. Their appreciation of security issues goes beyond what we can know. So when we came [Captain] Asase Gyimah was saying that as far as he is concerned he will never order people without weapons to go and face people with arms. These are people who advise us.

Our boys came here; they were so angry; they wanted to move into the streets. What are you going to do? You are just going to endanger the lives of people. The second thing also is that, after this intelligence unit, the ballot box protection unit, which we decided to set up, I think that this same committee will help us to see how to implement it. And again we are going to look at how to provide security for our leading members and communicators. All of that requires resources.