The Minister of National Security, Albert Kan Dapaah, has described political vigilantism as one of the security challenges that has become a big dent on Ghana’s democracy.
He said apart from issues of terrorism, cybercrime, and youth unemployment among others, political vigilantism could destroy the countries democracy and peace if nothing was done about it.
Mr. Dapaah, at a day’s Dialogue to find sustainable solution to political vigilantism, organised by the National Peace Council, (NPC), and its partners, said politically violent vigilantism had become the most prominent national security issue.
“This country has had it fair share of security issues of which key among them was the fear of coup d’etat. Violent vigilantism is an old security issue that is still lingering on in the country. It is a dent on the country’s democratic credentials and a source of worry,” he said.
He commended the NPC for contributing to playing a crucial role in promoting peace and said as part of steps by government to address the menace, a meeting of security of experts would be held early February to find lasting a solution.
Vigilantism, he explained, theoretically meant alertness and does not connote negativity but its use by political parties has had a negative impact.
The Chairperson of the National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE), Josephine Nkrumah, said stakeholder consultations on the issue suggested that measures needed to be taken to ensure the independence of heads of security agencies, including their appointment process and security of tenure.
The consultations recommended the insulation of security agencies from political intrusion, and embark on robust civic education and empower the youth economically in communities that were associated with political thugs.
The NCCE, Ms. Nkrumah said, would put together a report and present it to all partners and called for a national coalition with the overarching goal of stamping out politically violent vigilantism.
“We cannot overemphasis the importance of this work particularly as we draw close to 2020 elections when the two main political parties have stated their battle readiness and counter reprisals. These statements must not be taken for granted. We must act with urgency in the next few months,” she said.
Ms. Nkrumah urged the security agencies to be responsive to the needs of the people by ensuring safety in the country.
She appealed to the political parties to be tools of construction and not destruction by promoting good governance, rule of law, and development.
The Reverend Dr Emmanuel Asante, the Chairman of the National Peace Council, expressed regret that it was unfortunate that it was through politics that such vigilantism activities crop up.
The Spokesperson of the National Chief Imam, Sheikh Aremeyaw Shaibu, emphasised the need for a free and fair political process devoid of intimidation, whilst plugging all the holes of deficiencies in the process.