Commission of Inquiry must deal decisively with vigilantism in our politics

As at late as October 2018, the Ghanaian Times wrote an editorial under the headline “Ghana: Let’s deal with vigilantism now!”

In that editorial, we quoted the then Minister of Information designate, Kojo Oppong Nkrumah calling on the police to deal with vigilant groups in the country.

He charged the security agencies in the country to bring to book persons involved in political vigilantism, saying, “there will be no need banning political vigilantism because their actions are already illegal.  So, it is left with the security agencies to act.

Mr Nkrumah who was speaking to journalists in Accra, called on the judiciary to lead the call by President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo and give offenders of the law stiffer punishment to serve as deterrent to others.

The Ghanaian Times has recalled the above editorial because of the recent Ayawaso West Wuogon by-election violence, in which 18 people were said to have been injured.

The action of these men who some described as vigilantes have been condemned roundly by well meaning Ghanaians.

What is baffling however, is that, some government officials have claimed the men as security personnel attached to the NSC which appears to have added to the complexities in dealing with vigilante groups in the country.

In fact, the emergence of the armed group at the La Bawaleshie polling station where the incident took place clearly indicates that the security agencies were unable to carry out the President’s order.

We are not in the position to state emphatically that the armed men are political vigilantes but their action, which targeted the main opposition party, gives them up as working in the interest of the ruling governing party.

If that is so, then we are afraid that the gun-wielding men have taken political vigilantism to a new level that must be curtailed immediately.

It is in this light that we welcome the establishment of the three-member Commission of Inquiry which is tasked to probe the incident that occurred during the Ayawaso West Wuogon by-election.

We see the establishment of the Commission by the Vice-President, Muhammadu Bawumia, as a fine opportunity for us to deal with the phenomenon.

A thorough investigation should not end with establishing the cause of the violence and possibly arrest and punishment of those involved, but recommendation as to how to do away with political vigilantism completely.

As have been stated over and over again, if political vigilantism is not checked now, it would blow up in our faces one day and it would be too late to do anything about it.

Let’s act now!.

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