THE directive banning all private security forces attached to political parties with immediate effect last Friday is the clearest order yet from the government to all such illegal political security forces to cease operating in the country.
The Minister of Interior, Mr Prosper Bani outlawed the groups, some of which have been operating for as long as we started the democratic journey.
The two major political parties, the National Democratic Congress (NDC) and the New Patriotic Party (NPP), are most guilty in the use of these groups who are mostly made up of what is called “Machomen”,
The activities of these groups have in some cases resulted in death and in others chaos and destruction of property in different parts of the country.
Many well meaning Ghanaians, including Dr Mohammed Ibn Chambas, the UN secretary General’s Special Representative for West Africa while in Ghana a fortnight ago, called on the leadership of political parties to proscribe unregulated security bodies or vigilante groups from their organisations.
He was of the opinion that such unregulated parallel security forces, could pose challenges and undermine the general security during the election if steps were not taken by political parties to ban them.
Earlier in January, the Inspector General of Police (IGP), John Kudalor, said the police administration was going to ban all vigilante groups associated with political parties ahead of this year’s general elections.
The IGP was emphatic that all those groups are unlawful and illegal and therefore, must disband.
The Interior Minister’s directive must therefore send a strong signal to the various groups to disband or the police take drastic measures to prohibit them from operating.
We all have been witnesses to the mayhem and harm these illegal groups have been reported to have caused over the period.
That they continue to exist goes to show they are being encouraged by the political parties to continue to operate with impunity and continue to pose a threat to the peace and security of the country.
We throw our weight behind various interest groups who have expressed concern about the existence and the potential threat they pose to national security and add our voice to the call for their ban.
The Times expects that all political parties would seize the opportunity and disband such groups immediately.
The forthcoming general elections would be keenly contested and tension would be high.
Similarly, there would be a lot of security issues and challenges which must be handled professionally and with tact.
We pray that the Interior Minister’s directive would be adhered to by all the parties involved to ensure that the upcoming election is held in a peaceful atmosphere.