Government and the leadership of political parties in Ghana have been called upon to implement the vigilantism and related offences law to serve as caution to persons or groups affiliated with political parties.
The call was made by The Civil Society Organizations [CSOs] Platform on the Sustainable Development Goals [SDGs], Sub-Platform 16 [SDG16]. The group advocates for peace, justice and strong institutions.
It also urged stakeholders in the political space to allow the State security agencies with responsibilities during elections to undertake their duty without influence.
At a news conference in Accra to commemorate the one year anniversary of the Ayawaso West Wuogon bye-election violence, Ms. Faustina Djabatey, the Communications Officer of Ghana Anti-Corruption Coalition [GACC] who spoke on behalf of the group, appealed to political parties not incite their supporters to be violent but rather support the State institutions to do their work and channel complains and grievances to the appropriate quarters.
She said “We would like to remind our state security institutions that they serve at the pleasure of the people. They should resist partisan influence and show themselves to be neutral, fair and committed to the colours of Ghana, and none other.”
It would be recalled that on 31st January, 2019, there was violent attacks on innocent Ghanaians by masked and uniformed personnel of the National Security resulting in several casualties during the Ayawaso West Wuogon bye-elections. The brazen acts of violence perpetrated against law abiding citizens were condemned by well-meaning Ghanaians and the internationally community.
Ms Djabatey says the CSOs SDG Sub- Platform on Goal 16 believes that it was imperative to commemorate the day, take stock of lessons learnt and call on all stakeholders to ensure that there will never be another Ayawaso West Wuogon incident in any of Ghana’s electoral areas.
The issue of violence during elections according to her needed to be looked at holistically, adding that, in recent times the Ghana have had a culture of political parties forming and using vigilante groups to perpetuate mayhem on persons or groups considered as opponents. Ruling parties, the spokesperson stated, over the years had also attempted to use State security agencies as their own private vigilante groups.
The peace and security of Ghana, a country touted as a beacon of democracy in Africa, she said, is continuously being threatened by partisan vigilantism, which rears its ugly head particularly during elections.
Ms Djabatey stated “we use this opportunity to remind the political parties that the peace and stability of this country is bigger than their ideological and personal ambitions.
Whilst we acknowledged the President’s good decision of setting up the Commissions of Enquiry to investigate the violence and the good work by the commission, our worry has to do with implementation of key recommendations.
Not much has been heard on the implementation after the Government issued its white paper on the Commissions of Enquiry’s report. The culture of impunity related to electoral violence persists because culprits are not made to face the full rigours of the law.”
Source: Adovor Nutifafa