General News of Tuesday, 14 November 2017
The only way to rid the country of the canker of lawless vigilantism is to provide jobs for the jobless youth.
Dr Amoako Tuffuor, a leading member of the governing New Patriotic Party believes until those involved in the lawless activities are engaged and provided with some jobs, the country will still see a festival of violence.
He was reacting to the resurgence of the politically motivated lawlessness shortly after the New Patriotic Party was voted into power in 2016.
Political vigilantism has become entrenched in the country’s body politic and became quite notorious after the 2008 elections.
Political party youth affiliated to the then governing National Democratic Congress went on a seizing spree, taking over public toilets, bus stations, public offices, especially offices of District Health Insurance Authority, YEA offices, Secretariat of the School Feeding Programme etc.
After the eight year reign of the NDC which ended with an overwhelming defeat to the incumbent president John Mahama in December 2016, the canker of political vigilantism has been taken to another level.
Youth groups affiliated to the new government have been busy seizing anything they could lay their hands on.
They have tormented heads of public institutions like the NHIA, YEA, School Feeding Programme and have locked some of the district offices of those institutions, demanding that their people must be allowed to manage them.
The group, Delta Force, even went ahead to attack the regional security coordinator of the Ashanti Region and drove him out of his office.
When they were caught and hauled before court, another set of members within the Delta Force group organized men, invaded the court and freed the suspects under trial.
The police have been helpless thus far. They have issued countless threats to deal with the matter but the attacks and take over do not appear to be ending.
The president himself has been preaching about his willingness to fight the canker but has achieved little success.
In an interview on Tuesday, Dr Amoako Tuffuor suggested that vigilante groups have become an important segment in the political system due to mistrust politicians have about the police.
“Vigilante [groups] were formed for reasons. When you talk about them you are talking about tough looking people to protect the ballot during elections,” he said.
According to him the police cannot be trusted especially by politicians during elections. He said the only way they could protect the ballot in opposition was to get people who are stronger and could not be beaten.
On how to deal with the lawlessness of these same youth after the party has won elections, Dr Tuffour said engagement and the provision of jobs are the only panacea.
“We were talking about people who were rigging elections and you needed tough looking people to protect ballot boxes he said.
But after you have won elections, “To get them off track from using their energies in areas, [like violence] is talking to them, finding them jobs, training them.
“They are human beings,” and would react negatively if they are not attended to after their services have been used for elections.