If there is one inescapable variable about President Nana D. Akuffo Addo it is this; he is an astute, calculating politician. The man knows the appropriate time to strike when the iron is hot, so to speak.
To this end, he hasn’t hesitated to hold his fire on vital national issues knowing very well that any interjection from him would have been viewed by the Ghanaian public, but more so by his opponents as nakedly political.
Not surprisingly, Mr. Addo barely weighed in on the rampant corruption in his circle and nor commented on the ever provocative and vexing issue of political vigilantism.
But with the 2020 elections tantalizingly close and his political career in the balance, Mr. Addo suddenly has found his mojo --- he is re-energized and ready, more than ever before, to talk about issues that he previously ran away from.
Take political vigilantism for instance. In Mr. Addo’s first two years in office, he barely mentioned the threat even as groups closely associated with his ruling party, the NPP, illegally and grossly misbehaved, thumping their noses at Ghanaians more broadly.
He never once found it appropriate – largely out of political expediency - to sound off on an issue that clearly grates on Ghanaians because of its existential threat to their country. Through it all, the president remained shockingly silent.
However, having gauged the mood of the Ghanaian public and finding out to his chagrin that he would be severely punished at the ballot box if he persisted with his glove treatment of Delta Force and Invincible Forces, two preeminent NPP vigilante groups, Mr. Addo now sings a different tune.
The genesis of Mr. Addo’s awakening was at his State of the Nation Address last month when he vehemently and unabashedly condemned the scourge.
He followed that with an invitation to the leading minority party, the NDC, to join forces with his government to fight the menace.
But with the NDC refusing to play ball, Mr. Addo has reportedly instructed his attorney general to draft a bill that he would send to parliament to be passed into law to curb the activities of these dangerous collection of hardened criminals.
The prospect of parliament rubber stamping the law has not slowed down the President, however. He continues to condemn and wage war against political vigilantism.
At a recent get together with the GBA, the Ghana Bar Association, he forcefully repeated his commitment to wiping out the phenomenon as he called political vigilantism.
And just on Friday last week, during the annual Wassah at the Police Headquarters in Accra, Mr. Addo loudly proclaimed that the police should treat political vigilantism sternly irrespective of the groups close ties to political parties and without fear of retaliation or reprimand.
On a visit to Malta, the Mediterranean Island sandwiched between Italy and Libya, the President told the Ghanaian community there that he is resolute in his fight against political vigilantism.
It is indeed gratifying to see the president finally demonstrate leadership and it is all too well to observe his sudden metamorphosis.
But his move, better described as belated, definitely smacks of political opportunism and stinks to high heaven. Political expediency doubtlessly prompted Mr. Addo’s s eye-popping U-turn on the thorny issue of vigilantism.
We all know that the president wasn’t unaware of the havoc vigilante groups were wreaking on the country. He just chose to look the other way so long as the activities of the group suited his political agenda.
Come to think of it, he obviously did not want to squander political capital and his earlier attitude towards the issue eluded clearheaded analysis.
Well, let’s be clear-eyed here; Mr. Addo’s political agenda notwithstanding, Ghanaians want him to take the cudgel to vigilante groups immediately, irrespective of their political affiliations.
Political vigilantism as the President has forcefully asserted is a fire-breathing monster that should be stopped dead in its tracks.
To this end, Mr. Addo should snag a rope around the monster’s neck, drag it to the bathroom and drown it in the tub. Failing that Ghanaians would show him the exit in 2020.