Politics of Thursday, 13 July 2017
The Coalition of Domestic Election Observers (CODEO), is on a nationwide campaign against political vigilantism which is gaining notoriety in Ghana’s political environment.
CODEO and other like-minded civil society organizations after the 2016 general elections, advocated the need for total disbandment of identified political vigilante groups.
These groups are affiliated to the two major political parties, the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP), and the National Democratic Congress (NDC). In furtherance to the call, CODEO has embarked on a nationwide crusade through public engagements.
The organization in Tamale organized a public forum on the theme, “The menace of political party vigilantism and Ghana’s electoral politics.”
CODEO’s National Coordinator, Albert Kofi Arhin at the event, called for a multifaceted approach to deal with the threat.
“Our organisation is embarking on a nationwide public engagement to conduct civic and voter education through Round Table Discussions in all the 10 administrative regions of Ghana.”
“These engagements 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 emphasized 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.”
Northern Regional Director of the National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE), Alhaji Abdul-Razak Saani, revealed that that there were close to 100 vigilante groups recorded in the region.
He alerted that some of them are radical in nature for which reason they should be disbanded.
He added that political vigilante activities are planned, funded and sanctioned by leadership of political parties yearning to win power at all cost.
Alhaji Saani admitted that, civic education deficiency was to be blamed for the sharp increase in political vigilantism.
He attributed the situation to the NCCE’s inadequate staff and logistics saying, “In 2016, the Northern Region NCCE lost 30 staff to death, resignation and retirement. Not a single replacement has been made ever since.”
A representative of the NPP, Sham-Una Ghazi, said the nation’s Muslim Clerics have to condemn the menace which is also widespread in Muslim communities. According to him, majority of members of the political vigilante groups are Muslim youth, and thus questioned the Muslim Clerics’ leadership qualities exhibited in their sermons.
The NDC’s Northern Regional Director of Elections, Tanko Rashid, alias computer, suggested the need to re-brand the police administration as the Ghana Police Force.
This in his estimation could enable the police administration function like the Ghana Armed Forces for effective crime combating.