Politics of Wednesday, 12 July 2017
An activist of the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP) in the Northern Region, Sham-una Ghazi, has blamed Muslim clerics in the country for the existence of most of the political vigilante groups in the country.
According to him, 90 percent of members of the political vigilante groups comprise of Muslim youth and questioned the kind of leadership the clerics exhibit in the teaching and reformation of the bad behaviour of young Muslims.
Contributing to discussions at a day’s public engagement organised by the Coalition of Domestic Election Observers (CODEO) on “the menace of political party vigilantism and Ghana’s electoral politics” held in Tamale, he urged Muslim clerics to find out and learn how their Christian counterparts have been able to get it right by ensuring that their youth do not involve in violent acts.
CODEO, like many other non-state actors and stakeholders, recognises the mortal danger that political vigilante groups pose to the democratic development of the country.
On April 6, 2017, CODEO issued a communiqué calling on the Ghana Police Service to disband all vigilante groups and also for stakeholders to address the menace.
To sustain the advocacy against the activities of political party vigilantism in Ghana’s electoral politics in future, National Coordinator of CODEO Albert Kofi Arhin, said the organisation is embarking on a nationwide public engagement to conduct civic and voter education through Round Table Discussions (RTDs) in all the 10 administrative regions of Ghana.
These engagements, he noted, would also form the basis to collate views from regional level stakeholders on the phenomenon’ and also develop comprehensive advocacy policy recommendations for stakeholders and relevant institutions to implement.
Mr. Arhin emphasised that, the organisation would further seek to organise focus group discussions with some identifiable vigilante group members in selected regions to get a better understanding about the perspectives of their groups.
The National Democratic Congress (NDC) Northern Regional Director of Elections, Dr. Tanko Raship Computer, also suggested the creation of a secret service to cater for the security of all political actors in the country as it exist in the United States of America.
He further called for the renaming of the Ghana Police Service as Ghana Police Force so that they can function like the Ghana Armed Forces in order to combat crime very effectively and efficiently.
Northern Regional Director of the National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE) Alhaji Abdul-Razak Saani, also disclosed that there are close to 100 vigilante groups in the region and about 30 of such groups are militant in nature.
He attributed the increasing activities of vigilante groups to a deficit in civic education but quick to add that inadequate staff and logistics is also responsible for such deficit. “In 2016, the Northern Region NCCE lost 30 staff to death, resignation and retirement. Not a single replacement has been made ever since”, he indicated.
Alhaji Saani moreover observed that the problem of vigilantism exist because the activities of political vigilantists are planned, funded and sanctioned by leadership of political parties all in an attempt to win power.