The Asantehene, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II has warned of imminent political disturbances in the 2020 general elections if existing laws are not enforced to deal with vigilantism and other related crimes.
He has therefore admonished national leaders to adopt bold and honest attitudes to speak against issues that have the tendency of affecting the peace and stability of the country.
The Asantehene raise these concerns when a delegation from the National Peace Council paid a courtesy call on him at the Manhyia Palace.
He bemoaned the fact that unhealthy politics has taken over the Ghanaian society and citizens have been divided along political lines.
Asantehene who did not mince words said political parties must take the blame for the increasing menace of vigilantism in Ghana’s political landscape.
He indicated that anyone who has the intention to commit crime joins a political party so they can hide under the parties to perpetrate such crimes.
He expressed concerns over why existing laws that frown on vigilantism and other related crimes are not enforced and discussions were still ongoing to make new laws to deal with the menace.
The disturbances that characterized the Ayawaso West Wuogon by-elections and the killing of a young man at the NDC party’s office in Kumasi by persons suspected to be members of a pro-NDC vigilante group, The Hawks, have raised concerns of the possibility of violence in the 2020 general elections.
These disturbances have been widely condemned and a bill has been sent to Parliament to deal with political party vigilantism and related offences.
Although the National Peace Council is still working on a roadmap with the leadership of political parties to ensure the total disbandment of vigilante groups, the Asantehene says the activities of may arise if there is no truth and honesty when dealing with such matters.
“Is it not possible to identify those who caused the disturbances during the Ayawaso Wuogon by-elections or those who engaged in the shooting at the NDC party’s office? We are all in this country and those people also live with us, so why can we talk the truth on those matters too? Even with all these, we still say we are making laws. Is there not already an existing law in the criminal code that if someone should either shoot another person with a gun or use a machete on another they are arrested and taken to court? If we are discussing such issues, we need to approach them with the truth.
The Asantehene added that “we are all afraid of name-calling and being tagged. So if we are living in a nation where things are going wrong and no one can boldly say it, I don’t think it will help us all. I will only plead that you have been mandated to ensure there is peace and before we can achieve that we have to approach the issues with the truth. Whether a Government in power or opposition, so long as they do the wrong thing, let’s be bold and say it.”
Ghana existed before politics came into being, but it is politics that has now dominated and because we are not able to approach the issues with the truth, things are not going so well. If we fail to speak against this menace openly, by next year during the elections, these issues will come up again. We will definitely hear of gunshots or people snatching ballot boxes during elections. It will happen. All these people engaging in such activities are doing that for the political parties they belong to. So if we fail to speak the truth on such matters and also fail to enforce existing laws, the lawlessness will continue in this nation. If there will be peace, there must be the truth, if there is the truth, everything will be okay”, he emphasized.
The Asantehene also said he is doing a lot in the background to consolidate the peace in Dagbon since there are some outstanding chieftaincy issues that still remain unresolved in the area.
The board of the National Peace Council led by the council’s Chairman was at the Manhyia Palace to thank the Otumfuo for his role in fostering peace and stability not only in the Asante Kingdom but Ghana as a whole.
The visit was also to show gratitude to the Asantehene for leading the Committee of Eminent Chief to restore peace to Dagbon after nearly two decades of conflict between Andani royal families.
The council also commended the Asantehene for the tireless efforts he played in restoring peace in the Dagbon traditional area.
Chairman of the Peace Council, Most Reverend Professor Emmanuel Asante told Citi News that the council was committed to ending the menace of vigilantism in the country.