Tackling land guard problem will help end political vigilantism – Sam George
Member of Parliament (MP) for Ningo Prampram believes the only way to end the activities of vigilante groups is for the country to fix its land tenure systems.
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.
There is growing public concern over political vigilantism in the country with some high profile incidents linked to groups affiliated with both the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP) and the opposition NDC.
Although stakeholders have called for concerted efforts from the two main political parties to disband them, the MP insists the official records of the NDC do not include the presence of vigilante groups within the party.
NDC doesn’t have vigilante groups – Sam George
Sam George, on Monday, denied that his party, the NDC owns a vigilante group.
“What I know for a fact and can state without equivocation is that the party I belong to –the National Democratic Congress – does not have any vigilante group. The two groups I told you I was familiar with; Azorka boys and Hawks are groups that hold allegiance to individuals. I will not refer to them as vigilante groups but community-based organizations. So, let me state for the record that the NDC has no vigilante group.”
“These are groups that have been put up by individuals, but they are not recognized or affiliated to the NDC. The NDC is a body corporate in law that has a constitution with procedures of affiliations for groups that are not part of the NDC,” he stressed.
Stop party vigilantism or I’ll do so with legislation – Nana Addo to NDC, NPP
President Akufo-Addo has added his voice to calls by various civil society groups and international agencies for the two major political parties in the country to disband their vigilante groups.
He said he had instructed the leadership of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) which he belongs to, to extend an invitation to the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) to discuss how to disband their respective vigilante groups.
Akufo-Addo said the phenomenon of political vigilantism has the potential of destabilizing the country and reversing the democratic gains the country has made over the years.
“I want to use the platform of this Message to make a sincere, passionate appeal to the leaders of the two main political parties in our country, NPP and NDC, to come together, as soon as possible, preferably next week, to agree on appropriate measures to bring an end to this worrying and unacceptable phenomenon of vigilantism in our body politic,” he said.