Let’s name and shame politicians who own militia groups – Sam George
NDC Member of Parliament for Ningo Prampram, Sam George wants Ghanaians to take a tough stance in identifying and shaming politicians who fuel the activities of vigilante groups.
According to him, this is the panacea to ending what he described as a ‘monster’ which continues to bedevil the political frontiers of the country.
Claiming to be a victim of vigilantism following his ‘assault’ during the Ayawaso West by-election violence, the outspoken legislator stated that until some influential political actors who are behind the emergence of such groups are exposed, the fight against the menace will just be a mirage.
“I am not in anyway suggesting that the risk of armed militias is a good thing for our country. No. We need to, as a nation and politicians to take a stance and say we will name and shame anyone who is involved in any of these acts. If we are able to name the politicians and shame them it will go a long way.”
“I can give you several examples of politicians who have taken ownership of these groups and many of them occupy prominent positions in the country. And so we are always talking about issues of vigilantism, land guards and private militia in the country, and the people who these militias serve continue to be beneficiaries of political power – without mentioning and going after these people, then it is a pretentious exercise.
Tackling land guard problem will help end political vigilantism – Sam George
The MP also believes the only way to end the activities of vigilante groups is for the country to fix the country’s land tenure system.
According to him, the menace is on the rise due to the poor land acquisition regime which has forced many young men to resort to protecting lands while working for political parties as militia groups.
Describing the situation as a ‘monster’, the National Democratic Congress (NDC) MP said the police must also step up its efforts to control this worrying trend.
“If we want to stall this menace which I think is a monster that is growing in this country, we must not do it in a pretentious manner but face the bull and look at it in the face. The solution to this whole menace I believe lies with our land tenure system.”
“These members don’t do political activities every day. Most times, once every four years or when there is a political activity. What do they do on a daily basis? They are land guards. So if we fix our land tenure systems we will not need to have land guards again. If the police are allowed to do their work and clamp down on them, there will be no jobs for them,” he added.
Political vigilantism in Ghana
The phenomenon of vigilantism has become a topical issue in the country following a surge in acts of physical attacks carried out by members of vigilante groups aligned to Ghana’s major political parties, NDC and NPP.
Some of these attacks have resulted in death and injuries on victims including innocent citizens.
Recently, the presence of some masked and armed men at a polling station during the Ayawaso Wuogon by-election sparked conversations on the matter.