The opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC), wants President Nana Akufo-Addo to deal with the issue of vigilantism within his governing party before extending an invitation to meet any political party over the matter.
President Akufo-Addo has promised to initiate a legislative instrument to end political party vigilantism, if political parties fail to voluntarily disband such illegal groups.
To this end, he is asking leaders of the two main parties, the New Patriotic Party and the National Democratic Congress to meet and discuss ways of disbanding their groups, whose activities often lead to violence. But the NDC’s General Secretary, Johnson Asiedu Nketia who believes that the nefarious activities of vigilantes are fueled by the government of the day, says plans by the President to use legislation to disband militia groups is dead on arrival which will eventually be a wild goose chase.
“That view is wrong, there is vigilantism existing in government. He should deal with it before he comes to talk about NPP, NDC and other political parties. There is vigilantism within the state apparatus and that is what is creating the problem. It is also crippling the state institutions from clamping down on vigilantism because they themselves are infested with vigilantism.”
“I want to believe that a meeting between NPP and NDC won’t solve any problem. Also, the President’s threat of using legislation is also not going to solve any problem because there are laws in the country that can deal with this problem. What is lacking is the political will of the governing President. It takes the President alone to clean the state apparatus of the vigilantism to clamp down on vigilantism outside the state apparatus”, Asiedu Nketia added.
Stop party vigilantism or I’ll do so with legislation – Nana Addo to NDC, NPP
President Akufo- Addo is being compelled to apply legislation at a time both the NDC and NPP have denied accusations of being responsible for the growing menace of vigilantism in the country;
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.
Citing the recent violence that marred the Ayawaso West Wuogon constituency due to activities of supposed politically-aligned vigilante groups, President Akufo-Addo promised to use legislation to stop the phenomenon if the two parties fail to stop it voluntarily.
“I have asked the leadership of the NPP to extend an invitation to the leadership of the NDC for such a meeting. The security services of the country will be on standby to assist this meeting… If voluntary disbandment by the parties is not feasible, then I will initiate legislation on the matter. Vigorous debate and the exchange of ideas should be the true basis of political dialogue and competition in our country, not the activities of party vigilante groups,” he added.
Vigilantism in Ghana
The phenomenon of vigilantism has become a topical issue in the country following a surge in acts of physical attacks and assaults 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.