Vigilantism: Why create a monstrous political problem and blame the police – Bombande
Former Deputy Minister, Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, Emmanuel Habuka Bombande, has blamed the incessant attacks by vigilante bodies in the country on government and its interference in the management and service of the police.
He finds it surprising that political parties or some authorities in the country, for personal reasons, ‘take it easy’ on these sects when they misbehave and yet turn around to blame security personnel for their sluggishness in handling issues.
For Mr. Bombande, Ghana’s security agencies are one of the most respected in other parts of the world because of their competence and capabilities. Sadly, it appears the other way round in their own country because they are being held back by some ‘forces’ in power.
“My experience in the past recent times tells me that we have the best police service, I have no doubt about that, we have the best military, I have no doubt about that, I have been in UN missions and I’ve seen how Ghanaian police and military are respected so when you sometimes hear from the media that it is the incapability of the police to stop the vigilantism, it underlines our hypocrisy”
A ‘monstrous’ situation he says is being created by these persons in leadership and yet the police has to take fault for their ineffectiveness in curbing vigilantism.
“We cannot create a political problem that is monstrous in proportion and blame the police for their incapability to stop it, it’s like opening a warehouse full of gold without locking it and then armed robbers are at the door of that warehouse, you never locked it and you went away, when the armed robbers went in and took the gold, you now turn around and ask, ‘where are the police’”.
Mr. Habuka Bombande was speaking at a roundtable discussion organised by the Institute for Democratic Governance on the topic “Breaking the cycle of vigilantism in Ghanaian Politics”.
Meanwhile, Director at the Transformation Programmes Office of the Ghana Police Service, ACP Dr. Benjamin Agordzor who was present at the event said interferences by successive governments in the police service is hindering them from performing actively, making them unprofessional because they are mostly controlled by authorities in power.
Indicating how sickening it is and how their hands are tied to the authorities in power, ACP said there is no way the police service can be professional with their work when their fates are in the hands of political parties.
According to him the fight against any act of vigilantism or acts perpetrated by party members of successive governments is a lost battle. This is evident in how difficult it is to persecute culprits who are caught, eventually in such cases, the issue is trivialized and offenders go scot free; vigilante groups act without fear because of the support from their parties.
Vigilante threats over the period
The major political parties have often been accused of forming vigilante groups to man polling stations during elections. Sometimes these groups have been involved in some election incidents including some reports of ballot box snatching, and assault on supporters of opponents.
A Regional Security Coordinator, an appointee of the President was openly assaulted and injured in Kumasi. At the end of the trial of the vigilante suspects their colleagues stormed the court, freed the accused and defiled and threatened the trial judge. In Northern Region, a DCE appointed by the President was walked out of her office and in Tamale the Regional capital, the Chief Executive Officer of the Teaching Hospital was assaulted and evicted from his office.
Quite recently in Kumasi, heavily-built men believed to be members of pro-NPP group, Delta Force recently stormed a meeting of constituency executives which was being chaired by the MP for Old Tafo Pankrono Constituency, who doubles as Minister of State for Monitoring and Evaluation, Dr. Anthony Osei Akoto. The men disrupted the meeting and allegedly wanted to physically abuse the Member of Parliament over failed election promises.
The Member of Parliament was however assisted to escape unhurt. Three men are currently standing trial for the incident.