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The Jamiat Al-Hidayat Al-Islamiat, a Muslim organisation based in the Upper West Region, has called for unfettered freedom for the Ghana Police Service to discharge their role as a constitutionally mandated state security organisation.
Alhaji Yussif Issah, Chairman of Jamiat Al-Hidayat Al-Islamiat, said in a statement to the Ghana News Agency that the 1992 constitution recognised internal security as the primary function of the Police.
The Bureau of National Investigation and affiliate bodies should also work under the broader control of the National Security (Secretariat) Council to provide supportive role in maintaining law and order.
“In situations, which necessitate the development of supporting services, the Ghana Armed Forces is normally deployed to assist the Ghana Police and other forces,” he added.
The group noted that the development of Ghana’s democratic culture appeared to have gone “a bit off track” with the emergence of political violence and vigilantism that cannot be described as legitimate.
“These have taken the form of land-guards, youth group and quasi-political groups seeking to defend a narrow agenda. which runs counter to the common diction, where we are all each other’s keeper.
“The danger these groups pose to the survival of our democratic experiment can be found in the examples of other African countries, where they have largely taken their countries process hostage”.
As a religious organisation with a large following, the group said, it was concerned about how chieftaincy and partisan politics had become breeding grounds for political vigilantism.
He expressed worry that due to multiplicity of claims on land boundary dispute, land-guards were deployed to protect jurisdiction, while political parties deployed groups to either intimidate or seek their narrow interest by becoming forces of coercion in lieu of the regular police.
“It’s therefore the contention of Jamiat Al-Hidayat Al-Islamiat that the constitutionally mandated security organisation such as the Ghana Police be given the due recognition and freedom to carry out its mandate of ensuring a peaceful internal security atmosphere,” the statement said.
“Groups deployed by traditional authorities or political parties should not be seen to be replacing the police. We pay taxes to maintain the police and it is the duty imposed upon them and should not be subject to the whims and caprices of anybody’.
The statement said the group was backing efforts by President Akufo-Addo’s to stop political vigilantism by demanding political parties engage in talks to disband the militia or vigilante groups formed at their behest.
It also supported proposals for apolitical groups or organisations to act as mediators.
“The Jamiat AL-Hadayat Al-Islamiat which has worked with faith-based groups like the Dioceses of the Wa Catholic Church and other Christian groups are ready to lend their support to the move by the political party actors to rid our society of these tendencies”.
It said Ghana needed an atmosphere of tolerance of opposing views to enrich the political and socio-economic landscape and to improve the human development index.
Violence from either the religious angle as in Nigeria has resulted in Boko Haram.
The experience of our brethren in next door Cote D’Ivoire is an example we must and should not ignore.
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