Political Vigilantism

Mr Yaw Buabeng Asamoah, the New Patriotic Party (NPP) Director of Communication, has commended President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo for being bold and decisive in his effort to stamp out political vigilantism in the country.

He said the President’s decision to set up a Commission of Inquiry to investigate the violence at the Ayawaso West Wagon bye-election demonstrates his strength as a decisive leader.

“The President has taken some decisions within the past few weeks, which demonstrates his strength as a decisive leader,” he said.

Mr Asamoah gave the commendation after President Akufo-Addo has delivered his Third State of the Nation Address (SONA) in Parliament on Thursday in Accra.

The problem of political vigilantism has become a critical matter in the country in recent times, especially with the violence that erupted at the Ayawaso West Wagon by-election, resulting in a call by well-meaning Ghanaians to disband those groups.

The President, in the Address, appealed to the leadership of the NPP and the National Democratic Congress to meet and fashion out ways to disband all vigilante groups affiliated to their parties.

The President said if the NPP and NDC did not voluntarily meet to fashion out ways to disband their vigilante groups, he would apply legislation to disband the groups himself.

Mr Asamoah stated that the setting up of the Emile Short Commission was a major show of political will by the President to deal decisively with the matter.

“A public commission, which is interrogating the security sector of the country in the full glare of the public…. It has never happened before… It is a major show of political will”.

He lauded the President for inviting the two major political parties to sit to solve “a problem that seem to be engulfing the whole country.”

“Mr President did not shy away from confronting the matters that affect the citizens of this country most… everywhere you go today, whether people understand it or not, whether it is in the past or not, what is being talked about is violence in politics.”

“The NDC and NPP are responsible for the politically related violence… they must sit together and solve it in the interest of Ghanaians,” he added.

Mr Asamoah said the President nailed it right on head by saying “Democracy is about ideas and not violence.”

Mr Bernard Mornah, the Chairman of the People’s National Convention, in a reaction to the SONA, said he doubted the intention to be able to disband vigilante groups affiliated to the political parties.

He said the President’s appeal to the NDC and the NPP to disband their vigilante groups showed a sign of weakness.

“The President should let the laws apply… the NDC and the NPP are not the laws of Ghana…Look the President doesn’t need extra legislation to ensure that we deal with political vigilantism… The laws are there.”

Mr Mornah indicated that political vigilantism and groupings were not part of the country’s laws, so if they exist all the President needs to do is to give the police the confidence and assurance to act.

“A crime is a crime. Once people decide to go out of the way and commit a crime they should be dealt with according to the law,” he said.

Mr Mornah noted that there was enough legislation to deal with the problem of political thuggery and so the President must go ahead and apply laws.

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