It will be recalled that the president his excellency Nana 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 after this call from both sides currently have proven that the idea even though laudable is not strong enough to resolve this social canker which is fast eroding the peace and security 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 disbandment as suggested by the president?
Both NDC and NPP claim these groups are owned by individuals within the parties.
The president should have rather instructed the Ghana Police Service to ensure that any vigilante group whose activities falls 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?
Additionally, the leaders of the two main opposing political parties should first agree to meet the individuals who own these groups in their respective parties to disbar them and secondly decide not to form any auxiliary groupings 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 current government should as a matter of urgency, ensure that public confidence is restored in the police administration, by ensuring their independence and therefore their authority to carry out their mandate of preventing crime, protecting the citizenry and property as mandated by the 1992 constitution. For the police to regain the trust of the Ghanaian public, they should position themselves to be seen as non-partisan in dealing with individuals found to be guilty of such offences irrespective of their party affiliations. We are not safe as a country, because there is a proliferation of arms in the public domain due to the porous nature of our boarders, and particularly so because we are surrounded by countries that have gone through civil strife due to such groupings within their political parties.
In conclusion, our state security institutions should be empowered and emboldened to position themselves as agencies that the public can fully trust. The integrity of the people and the development of Ghana depends on the people having faith and trusting in the police service and other security agencies.
“God bless our homeland Ghana and make our nation Great and strong.”
God bless us all.