Political vigilantism and 2020 elections

Ayawaso Security Ccc Some members of the security forces who were present at some polling stations

Mon, 4 Feb 2019 Source: Elvis Effah

If there is any subject that has caused so much public stir, then it is the rampant occurrence of acts of political vigilantism.

Every now and then, newspapers beam with headlines in relation to these vigilante groups either engaged in one brutal act or the other.

The hunger for political power is gradually making political vigilantism a part of our Ghanaian politics and it's eating deep into the democratic fabric of our beloved country.

For the past years, the posture and demeanour of some party bigwigs suggest that political vigilantism and the quest for political power are inseparable.

From the latter part of 2016, these vigilante groups, with the destructive instincts of an elephant have been used by political parties to perpetrate heinous crimes and brutalities.

They have forcefully chased people from government offices, seized properties and broken into police custody to set free their members amidst trials.

It's disheartening to note that calls from notable non-governmental organizations and other well-meaning Ghanaians to disband these groups have proven futile.

At the end of the day, stalwart supporters of these political parties (NDC and NPP) appear on various social media platforms and engage in the "game of equalization" seeking to justify their gruesome deeds through these vigilante groups.

Recent among these acts of violence has been the happenings at Ayawaso West Wuogon where just by-elections called for shootings with about six people left wounded and physically assaulting a Member of Parliament.

Considering the fact that Ayawaso West Wuogon is just a constituency and also on the tangent that those who perpetrated these heinous brutalities were in a "Ghana police branded vehicle", one would have thought that the police would be able to apprehend the culprits with cheeky ease.

But that wasn't the case.

The police, coming out to say that those who were in "Ghana Police Service branded vehicles" were not police officers is not only an eyesore but also surprising.

The question on the lips of many is, " can anyone just use Ghana Police Service branded vehicles ?"

If the security agencies have not been able to ensure the safety of voters in Ayawaso West Wuogon, what of an entire country's election?

I do not seek to be a merchant of doom, but there is widespread gloom and doom about our country's future based on the despicable acts of these vigilante groups.

The gory and deadly strike by these armed men presupposes that acts of political vigilantism in the 2020 elections would heighten if not carefully curtailed at this time.

These acts cast a gloom on our democracy and if no pragmatic measures are taken to crack a whip on political vigilantism, then in no time these acts of violence will be woven into the democratic fabric of our dear nation and be considered as something normal.

We are riding for a fall as a nation if we don't tackle this practice with the seriousness it deserves. The government and the Security Service cannot keep on paying lip service to these acts of vigilantism.

The Ghana Police Service should be up to the task and let these bunch of miscreants dance to the rhythm of their own tune of violence.

Forgive my manners, but their actions of late show that they have no venom to bite.

We need action and not words.

The writer, Elvis Effah, is a student at the University of Cape Coast.

Columnist: Elvis Effah
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