By: Benjamin Dzantor
It would be recalled that the president his Excellency Nana Akufo Addo in his recent state of the nation address (SONA, 2019) called on the leadership of both the New Patriotic Party (NPP) and the National Democratic Congress (NDC) to arrange for a meeting in order to find ways to dissolve their vigilante groups. Events currently from both sides after this call have proven that the idea even though laudable is not strong enough to resolve this social canker, which is fast eroding the peace that we are enjoying as a people.
The following are the reasons why I think the suggestion would not work effectively
- Both political divide do not lay claim to any vigilante groups.
- If they claim they do not own them, then on what authority or basis should they meet to discuss their dissolution as suggested by the president?
- Both NDC and NPP claim that private individuals within their parties own these groups.
The president should have rather instructed the Ghana Police Service to ensure that any vigilante groups whose activities fall foul with the law no matter where they belong are made to face the full rigors of the law. This as a matter of fact should start with the groups that are affiliated to the governing party so that we can see some level of commitment from the current government
Again, I strongly support the call by the NDC to have a third neutral body to sit in and bring some pressure on these two political parties. This neutral body should be given some terms of reference and time line within which to work. This is very important because should these two parties reach a dead end in the cause of their discussion and decide to go their separate ways, who can call them to order.
In addition, the leaders of the two main political parties should first agree to meet with the individuals who own these groups in their respective parties to collapse them and secondly decide not form any nomenclature like that again. These leaders should be made to deal with the issues within their ranks and their resolutions submitted to the neutral body.
Furthermore, in order to stamp this tide permanently, all political party heads should be made to meet the neutral body and come up with an inter party policy that should bar any of them from ever forming such groups.
Finally, the government should ensure that the public confidence in the police administration is fully restored. The police also should position themselves to be seen as non-partisan in their dealings with individuals who are found to be guilty of such offences. We are not safe as a country because there are proliferation of arms due to the porous nature of our borders, and particularly so because we are surrounded by war torn countries.
In conclusion, our state security institutions should be empowered and emboldened to position themselves as agencies that the public can fully trust.
God bless Ghana.
God bless us all.
PPP, KEEA Constituency.