Pro-New Patriotic Party
(NPP) vigilante groups have welcomed the government’s decision to end political
vigilantism in the country.
said the importance of vigilante groups have been diluted by the inception of
similar groups, hence the support for disbandment, if the state finds the need to disband it,
they support it because previously, there were no such groups.
Activities of political party militia groups are said to have the tendency of destabilising the country and reversing the democratic gains Ghana has made over the years. The violence that marred the Ayawaso West Wuogon constituency by-election due to activities of supposed politically-aligned vigilante groups, brought on a broader conversation over the subject matter.
They noted that “if
everyone in the country is talking against political vigilantism and the
President also finds the need to disband it, then we support it, we created the
group to defend our polling stations.
“Usually when there
is an election, we hear of stories where people go and snatch ballot boxes in
our strongholds, we formed the groups to prevent people from snatching ballot
boxes and we won the 2016 elections, ” the leadership of the groups said.
The president has stated
that he would initiate legislation to end the lawlessness perpetrated by the
groups if dialogue between the two main political parties, the NPP and the
National Democratic Congress (NDC) failed. However, the NPP and NDC have agreed
to meet to discuss the disbandment of the groups.
But, President Nana Akufo-Addo, who had instructed the Attorney-General to prepare legislation to stop the phenomenon of political vigilantism indicated that nothing would stop his administration in the fight against the menace.
The phenomenon of
vigilantism ignited a national debate following a surge in violence by members
of vigilante groups aligned to NDC and NPP, some of the attacks had resulted in
death and injuries on victims including innocent citizens.
While many political parties and other stakeholders have said that legislation will yield no positive results, a private legal practitioner, Martin Kpebu intimated that “it is early days yet for the citizenry to dismiss plans by the government to formulate a law to end activities of such groups, the decision by the president might have numerous benefits hence people agitating to wait for the legislation to be passed before writing it off”.
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