Senior lecturer at the Political Science Department of the University of Ghana, Dr. Seidu Alidu has emphasized the need for a reduction in the incentives for vigilante activities in the country to curb the insurgence of vigilante groups in the country.
Bemoaning the abuse of vigilante groups by political parties, Dr. Seidu Alidu explained that vigilante groups were to keep watch society and not to employ violence for political purposes.
Delivering a lecture at the on the topic, “Parties’ vigilante groups and rationalism in Ghana’s electoral democracy”, the political science lecturer called on political parties to see political power as an opportunity to service the citizenry rather than a money making venture.
In his view, this will play a pivotal role in curbing what appears to be a canker.
“They should reduce the incentives of vigilante activities, de-monetize our elections so that people now see political power as an opportunity to serve rather than as a benefit, de-politicize the security systems, license these groups so we can have control over them and we can use the appropriate legal means to deal with them” he said.
Dr. Alidu also noted the the growing level of hypocrisy in the manner political parties in the country deal with vigilantism.
He said that political parties only defend or condemn vigilante groups only when the situation suits them.
“When there is a change of power there is a change of interest and incentive to disband these groups is usually scaled down. There is a little bit of hypocrisy in terms of response from political parties, they are very quick to condemn the vigilante activities of opposition parties and very quick to defend the vigilante activities of parties affiliated to them.” he added
Also contributing to the lecture, Political Science lecturer at the University of Ghana, Professor Ransford Gyampo attributed the growing numbers of politically aligned vigilante groups to decreasing level of trust for the nation’s security services.
Professor Gyampo added that steps being made by the two leading political parties in the country, that is the New Patriotic Party and the National Democratic Congress to disband their respective vigilante groups following a call by the President during his delivery of the State of the Nation’s Address brings an opportunity to make the head of the Police Service independent.
“Vigilante groups spring up because they don’t trust the security and the IGP because he is appointed by the president…In disbanding vigilante groups; it is an opportunity to re-think a way of making the Chief Security independent.” He said.
The lecture was held at the Institute of Statistical, Social and Economic Research (ISSER) at the University of Ghana, Legon.
Political Vigilantism in Ghana
There have been growing concerns by various civil society groups and individuals in the country over the violent activities of politically affiliated vigilante groups.
These calls have increased following violent clashes that took place at the Ayawaso West Wuogon by-election in January, leading to the establishment of a Commission of Inquiry to investigate the issues to led to the violent clashes by personnel of the National Security Council.
Last month, some executive and members of the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) were attacked at the Ashanti regional office of the party, leaving at least one person dead.
President Akufo-Addo in his State of the Nation’s address in February called on the two leading parties in the country, the New Patriotic Party and the National Democratic Congress to work together and come out with a road map to disband vigilante groups.
The President stressed that should the political parties fail to work together, he would move to have legislative action to deal with the canker.
Story by: Dorothy Mawuenam Buatsi|universnewsroom.com