The flagbearer of the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC), John Dramani Mahama has urged traditional leaders to call out the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP) for ‘causing havoc’ in the country with the deployment of vigilante groups.
According to him, if the traditional leaders name and shame the NPP, such acts will reduce in the country.
“Often when we are counselling our children we try to make it general but among the children, you know the one who is a bad child. Even though you counsel all of us and say, politicians [are causing violence], all of you know who is the bad child amongst your children. So from time to time you must call them out and let them know that you are talking to them.”
“We know those who use vigilantes in this country, we know those who have the Invisible forces, Delta forces, Bolga bulldogs and the likes. We know those who caused violence in Ayawaso West Wuogon and shot people. We know them. So often we take the advice as political parties but I think traditional leaders too should from time to time, call out those persons causing the havoc so that they know they are the ones you are talking about.”
Mr. Mahama made the call when he paid a courtesy call on the Avenor Traditional Council in the Volta Region on Tuesday, August 18, 2020.
We won’t deploy vigilantes to police ballot boxes
Mr. Mahama further turned down suggestions that the NDC should deploy vigilantes to police ballot boxes during the polls.
To him, communities have a role to play to protect their own votes.
“In NDC we don’t believe in the use of vigilantes. We believe that the community should be able to police their own ballots because the ballot is their voice. So it is the duty of the community to make sure that ballot counts. So you don’t need vigilantes. So we leave the ballot boxes in your hands. We are not going to bring in vigilantes to protect the ballot box,” he added.
Elections in Ghana have been acrimonious with the two major political parties –NPP and NDC–deploying every means possible including vigilantes to unleash mayhem on their opponents.
Widespread condemnation and several efforts to curb the issue have been unsuccessful.
Several stakeholders have urged both the NDC and NPP to disband their vigilante groups; an advice that has not been adhered to.
Findings from a survey conducted by the Center for Democratic Development (CDD) – Ghana in 2019 revealed that vigilante activities were growing at an alarming rate in parts of the country despite the introduction of the Vigilantism and Related Offences Act introduce by the Akufo-Addo government.
The report found that all of the activities and the associated groups are related to the two major political parties — the NDC and the NPP.
A Code of Conduct and Roadmap to ending political vigilantism developed by the National Peace Council and its partners with the view of helping to end vigilantism in Ghana has also yielded less or no positive result.