Mr Mawusi Dumenu, the Research and Project Officer of the Coalition of Domestic Election Observers (CODEO), has described as worrying the influx of political party vigilante groups in the nation’s political affairs.
He said the activities of these groups including the seizure of the management of public properties such as public toilets, toll booths among others when their parties are in power poses a serious threat to national security.
Mr Dumenu said this in a presentation on the 2017 Afro-barometer Report on political party vigilantism during a “Round Table Discussion on the Menace of Political Party Vigilantism”.
This forms part of CODEO’s nationwide engagement tour on the threat of political party vigilantism in Ghana’s politics.
Mr Dumenu said the survey revealed that political party vigilante groups existed because members believed in the programmes and policies of a party and were willing to ensure that these programmes succeeded.
While a section of the respondents believed the groups existed because members expected material benefit from the parties when they came into power, others believed that political party leaders ought to satisfy the demands of vigilante groups when they earn the mandate.
Mr Dumenu said political interference impeded the efforts of the security and law enforcement agencies such as the Ghana Police Service to arrest and prosecute members of vigilante groups who perpetuate crime.
Mr Haruna Husheini Sulemana, the Upper West Regional Director of the National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE), said it is untrue that an increase in vigilante groups in the country was as a result of civic and voter education deficit but rather it was due to lack of trust for key state institutions.
Participants at the event said the media was important in the fight against vigilante groups and urged the media not to give voice to these groups since it would serve as a motivation for their unscrupulous acts.
Representatives of political parties, Heads of Departments and the security agencies among others attended the Round Table Discussion organised by CODEO under the theme: “The Menace of Political Party Vigilantism and Ghana’s Electoral Politics”.
CODEO’s post-2016 election activities are being funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).