Some Paramount Chiefs in the Upper East Region have been schooled on the Vigilantism and Related Offence Act, and the roadmap and code of Conduct to end vigilantism, as part of efforts to ensure free, fair and peaceful general elections.
The engagement was to equip the paramount chiefs with the requisite knowledge on the Act to enable them to play critical roles in its the implementation to ensure decent political campaign to ensure peaceful elections on December 7, 2020.
The initiative is on the theme, “Decent election 2020 project”, and is being implemented by the Northern Sector Action on Awareness Centre (NORSAAC) in collaboration with Sagani TV in the Northern Region with funding from STAR-Ghana.
The peaceful election project is being implemented in three regions, the Northern, North East and Upper East Regions by different organizations, with RISE-Ghana as a facilitator in the Upper East Region.
The Vigilantism and Related Offences Act of 2019, Act 999, seeks to disband all political party vigilante groups and forbids the act of vigilantism in the country and seeks to punish any person who engages in activities of vigilantism that is related to a political party.
The Act follows the many electoral violence in the country, especially during recent elections, and is to ensure that anyone who breaks the law is punished with a term of imprisonment between five and 15 years.
Speaking at separate functions, Madam Jaw-haratu Amadu, the Head of Programmes at RISE-Ghana, explained that all political parties needed to abide by the Act that bans all forms of vigilantism to ensure peace before, during and after the elections.
She said the government through the National Peace Council formulated a roadmap for the disbandment of vigilantism by all political parties.
She said chiefs, who wielded much influence in their respective communities, needed to enhance their knowledge on the Vigilantism and Related Offences Act and roadmap to end it.
“We want to let you know what the Act is about such that when the campaign starts and the politicians come to your communities, you remind them of it to ensure peaceful conduct of their campaign and the election as a whole,” she told the Chiefs.
She said the initiative would engage key stakeholders, including Civil Society Organizations, religious leaders, and regional political party leaders, institutions, youth groups, on the Act and strengthen positive action geared at ensuring peaceful elections to cement the country’s democratic credentials.
The paramount Chiefs were presented with copies of the Vigilantism and Related Offences Act, and Roadmap and Code of Conduct to end Vigilantism.
Naba Baba Salifu Atamale Lemyaarum, the Paramount Chief of the Bongo Traditional Area, said he would make copies of the documents for his divisional and sub-chiefs and also use the Bongo Community Radio and the Azambene festival to propagate the message to the people.
The Bonaba, however, appealed to government to allow for the formation of Community Neighbourhood Watch Committees to assist the security services to curb crimes in the various communities.