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Vigilantism: Sentencing regime not deterrent enough – NCCE boss

The National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE) Chairperson is unhappy with the form of punishment meted out to individuals who engage in acts of violence in the country.

Describing it as “a slap on the wrist”, Josephine Nkrumah said the sentencing regime is not severe for a country that wants to stem the tide of activities of vigilante groups.

“How can we increase the sentencing regime to make it detriment enough for perpetrators to understand that if you get yourself in this [vigilantism] there are strong sanctions?” she said, advocating harsher punishments.

The nation has recorded a string of violent activities carried out by vigilante groups since the victory of the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP) was announced in 2016.

But no one has been jailed for the many violent attacks despite assurances from the government and the police to make perpetrators account for their acts.

The recent incident happened during the Ayawaso West Wuogon by-election on January 31, where some supporters of the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) were attacked by men from the National Security.

The NDC has hinted it would “match the NPP boot-for-boot” at the 2020 general elections, a development security experts have described as worrying.

Ms Nkrumah believes the politicisation of the Ghana Police Service plays a major drawback, undermining efforts aimed at arresting the situation.

“[We must] look at ways of insulating the police from political intrusion and infiltration [which] more or less immobilises them,” she said.

The NCCE boss has entreated Ghanaians to delink activities of vigilante groups from politics, a solution she said would help to treat such acts “as crimes properly so-called [which would be] firmly fixated in the domain of the police.”

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