National Coordinator for Coalition for Domestic Election Observers (CODEO), Albert Arhin has said it has been established that the existence of political vigilante groups is widespread in all the 10 regions of Ghana.
Speaking to Kwame Tutu on Rainbow Radio 87.5Fm, Mr. Arhin said, a number of issues came out from their regional tours and the role of vigilante groups cannot be underestimated.
However, we have two forms of vigilantism including combative which employs lawlessness and criminal activities whereas others also exit to mobilize people for a good course. He said some members of the groups confessed to using hard drugs and their main reason for joining such groups is due to unemployment.
Political party vigilante groups and their activities have gradually found its way onto the centre stage of Ghana’s electoral politics, the situation is serious and we have to take time in dealing with it to prevent any unforeseen acts in the near future.
The rule of law must work. The fact that you’ve helped your party to win power does not warrant you to take the law into your own hands and engage in criminal activities. The police he added are unable to deal with vigilante groups because of undue political interference.
He said, ‘’Conscious efforts should be made to solve youth and graduate unemployment. We should also be mindful of the negative impact and find ways in dealing with it. If we have to disband it, we have to it with the urgency it deserves.’’
CODEO in April this year released a in Accra after the post-election stakeholders review meeting, CODEO condemned this growing feature of the country’s electoral politics. CODEO further called on political parties to disband these affiliated groups.
It urged other stakeholders, particularly the security agencies, to address this growing menace. Specifically, CODEO stated that, ·
The existence of political vigilante groups is illegal and the Ghana Police Service should ban and disband these groups immediately as a matter of national security. ·
The leadership of the NPP and the NDC who are largely responsible for the emergence of these groups in the 4th Republic should own up to their responsibilities and work together with the police to disband all politically affiliated vigilante groups. ·
In the medium to long term, there should be a concerted effort amongst key election stakeholders to make the Inspector General of Police independent by insulating him/her from political interference by securing his/her tenure across regimes and ensuring such appointments are transparent and consultative.