General News of Monday, 17 July 2017
The various political parties are requested to review their code of conduct to regulate activities of their youth groups and apply the necessary sanction against persons that go contrary to the set rules and procedures.
In the same way, the country’s judiciary has been advised to be strict and fair in the adjudication of matters that border on criminality irrespective of one’s political colour or position.
These were some key recommendations brought to the fore by participants at a roundtable discussion held in Bolgatanga on the menace of political party vigilantism in Ghana.
Stakeholders at the said forum organised by the Coalition of Domestic Election Observers, CODEO further entreated government and the various political parties to disband their affiliated groups in order to bring some level of sanity into the country’s electoral politics and democratic development.
In pursuance of its advocacy role to engage relevant stakeholders on the country’s political space of party vigilantes and their activities, CODEO is embarking on a regional tour on the growing phenomenon.
The series of public engagement with funding from the USAID of the American people seeks to promote healthy discourse to tackling the issue of vigilantism and to provide voter education on the menace.
The engagements sessions will form the basis for the collation of views from regional level stakeholders on the trend which in turn will be used to develop a comprehensive policy recommendations for subsequent implementation by policy makers and institutions concerned.
The meeting in Bolgatanga was the fourth in the series of regional engagements to be held.
Briefing Journalists on the outcome of the meeting, the National Coordinator of CODEO, Albert Kofi Arhin expressed regret that post electoral violence mainly orchestrated by youth support groups within parties have to a larger extent dented the country’s hard won electoral repute as the beacon of democracy.
He said the menace has gradually found its way into the centre stage of Ghana’s electoral politics and therefore calls for concerted effort to ensure the total disbandment of such affiliated groups.
He outlined some key recommendations brought to fore by participants for consideration.
During an open forum, a member of the CODEO Advisory Board, Sheikh Arimiyawo Shaibu maintained that the widespread condemnation with respect to vandalism and acts of criminality by political party vigilantes goes to confirm its findings of the 2012 Afro barometer and pre-election survey conducted by the CDD-Ghana in 2016.
He said in as much as CODEO does not kick against all political youth groups, it was important for political parties to review their code of conduct to check activities of their youth groups.
Sheikh Shaibu cited the system of winner takes all and youth unemployment as major causes of political vigilantism.
He said most party loyalists tie their fortunes to political parties and for them to protect their interest, they exhibit acts of militarism with the recent being the raid at a Kumasi law court by the Delta Force.
He added that in rare cases, media personnel in their line of duty fall prey to their activities.
To this effect, Sheikh Shaibu disclosed plans by CODEO to organise a National Security Summit involving experts within and outside the country to help stem the tide of vigilantism.
CODEO’s round table discussion brought together key stakeholders including staff of the EC, NCCE, the media, security agencies as well as representatives of COSs and the various political parties.