Political parties, the Police and Civil Society Organisations who attended a Peace Dialogue on Tuesday expressed their strong sentiments against political vigilantism in Ghana, and asked for the demobilization of all such groupings.
They say political vigilantism, which has become a disturbing phenomenon in recent times, is threatening the democracy of the nation.
The National Peace Council and its partners organised the dialogue, sponsored by the British High Commission, to find solutions to address the phenomenon of violent vigilantism.
Violent vigilante activities is said to have become a security concern to Ghana’s democracy, especially around general election, with tensions, violence and sometimes destruction of life and property.
The Reverend Dr Emmanuel Asante, the Chairman of the National Peace Council, said it was unfortunate that politics has brought in its wake vigilantism.
He said there was no need for such vigilantism, which led to the creation of systems and structures with the potential of destroying the resources, peace and harmony of the state.
Commissioner of Police, Nathan Kofi Boakye, the Director General of Police Professional Standards Bureau, said controlling of such vigilante groups was becoming difficult since they have the backings of the two main political parties; the incumbent New Patriotic Party (NPP) and the Opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC).
He said if nothing is done to stop the activities of such groups, the nation would record more than 500 vigilante groupings in the roundup to the 2020 general elections with its dangerous repercussions.
“There is danger ahead and if the vigilante groups are not controlled, by 2020, there will be more dangerous groups who will operate to destroy our democracy,” he said.
COP Kofi Boakye said both the NPP and NDC should make a conscious effort to control vigilantism since they are the direct beneficiaries of their activities.
He called on the state and other stakeholders to help empower the police psychologically so they would be courageous to fight acts of vigilantism that was destroying Ghana’s fledgling democracy.
The Reverend Dr Cyril Fayose, the General Secretary of the Christian Council of Ghana, called for the need to have an independent security services with its heads being “untouchable” so they could control such negative acts that jeopardize the peace of the country.
He explained that in as much as a ruling government needed a loyal security head that it could trust, it was important to make such security heads autonomous so they could operate more efficiently.
Sheikh Aremeyaw Shaibu, the Spokesperson of the National Chief Imam, also emphasized the need for a free and fair political process devoid of intimidation, while plugging the holes of deficiencies in the process.
Dr Chukuemeka B. Eze, the Executive Director of the West Africa Network for Peace Building, said in demobilizing vigilante groups the state would need to ensure that the members were disarmed and properly reintegrated into the communities by providing “good jobs” that would make them stay off vigilantism.