Mutaru Mumuni Muqthar, the executive director of the West Africa Centre for Counter-Extremism (WACCE), has warned that government’s failure or delay to ban political vigilante groups in time is dangerous for Ghana as the nation prepares for the 2020 elections.
He said vigilante violence represents the single biggest source of electoral violence in Ghana, adding that government, political parties and all other stakeholders must do everything to rid of the country’s political and social space of vigilante groups.
Mr Muqthar said this at the opening of a two-day workshop on the theme, “The Challenge of Vigilante Violence and Ensuring Peaceful Elections in Ghana”, organised by the WACCE in Yendi in the Northern region.
He said the phenomenon of vigilantism is not only dangerous for country’s peace, but also a distraction to the youth of Ghana.
He said the current processes, including the political efforts led by the National Peace Council, the Vigilante Act, and the Emile Short Committee’s recommendations, need to be acted upon quickly to ensure that such measures become conclusive in time before this year’s election.
NDC declines to sign bill
Meanwhile, the opposition NDC has refused to sign a document on the roadmap and the code of conduct put together by the National Peace Council to check political vigilantism.
The Peace Council has been engaging the two leading parties – National Democratic Congress and New Patriotic Party – and key stakeholders culminating into the presentation of a final roadmap and code of conduct for the eradication of political vigilantism in the country in Accra on Tuesday February 4 2020.
But the NDC said it is premature for them to sign the document because some outstanding issues have not been addressed.
“The view of the National Democratic Congress is that the signing ceremony is premature. We do not think we have exhausted all the possible issues that are required to have a meaningful document that we can all work to”.
According to the NDC, the roadmap has 22 recommendations: four of them relate to political parties and 18 for government, National Commission for Civic Education, civil service organisations, Electoral Commission, among others.
“None of these are signatories to the document we are going to sign. So, in effect, if you look at the communiques we have already signed with the Peace Council, they actually already cover the four items that are directly relating to the political parties. We cannot be seen to be signing a document for which other parties who are playing a part do not sign,” the party said.