This year’s Constitutional Week celebration was yesterday launched in Accra with a forum organised by the National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE) in collaboration with the Ghana Police Service for personnel of the service.
The annual celebration was instituted by the NCCE with the objective to make the 1992 Constitution become a living document “embossed” on the minds and hearts of Ghanaians for deepening of democracy and good governance.
Held on the theme, “The threat of vigilantism to our democracy and sovereignty-The role of the security services”, yesterday’s event was aimed at discussing vigilantism issues and sought ways in curbing the menace in the country.
Addressing the forum, the chairperson of NCCE, Ms Josephine Nkrumah, described vigilantism as a threat to the nation’s democracy, saying it was an offshoot of terrorism.
She therefore called on stakeholders such as the security agencies, peace council, churches, non-governmental organisations and the media to unite in eradicating vigilantism from the country.
“Political stability is a great asset to the nation and it should be the duty of all Ghanaians to ensure that there is no vigilantism in the country,” she said.
Ms Nkrumah said vigilantism was a threat to the Ghana’s democracy and therefore it was imperative that all stakeholders got on board to discuss the issues and nip it in the bud.
“When there is chaos as a result of vigilantism no one would be spared, “she noted.
Ms Nkrumah said Ghana had become a beacon of peace in Africa due to its continuous stability and democratic dispensation, stating that most African countries with terrorism threat had issues of vigilantism.
She announced that NCCE had established a technical committee with the Police Service to address vigilantism and promote stability in the country, adding that similar forum would be extended to other security organisations such as the Ghana Prison Service, Ghana Immigration Service and the Customs Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority.
The Director-General for Legal and Prosecutions of the Ghana Police Service, Commissioner of Police (COP) Prosper Kwame Agblor, said vigilantism in all forms was an unacceptable phenomenon which was capable of derailing the country’s hard earned democratic gains.
He said maintenance of law and ensuring safety of citizens was a responsibility of the Police, adding that “no group or individuals can arrogate unto themselves the power of law enforcement except dictated in the constitution.”
COP Agblor commended government for demonstrating a zero tolerance for vigilantism and proposed a Bill before Parliament to outlaw vigilantism in the country.
He urged the Attorney General’s Department to prosecute all offences of vigilantism to serve as deterrent to others.
COP Agblor called on the personnel to exhibit professionalism in the discharge of their duties to win the confidence of Ghanaians.
“Eradicating vigilantism is a shared responsibility; other organisations such as the media and other security organisations should be educated on such issues to eradicate it,” he added.
He commended the NCCE for the initiative and called for more of such collaboration.
The Deputy Chairperson of Finance and Administration of NCCE, Mrs Kathleen Addy, said the partnership between NCCE and the Police Service was crucial and stressed the need to discuss the problems of vigilantism issues in the country especially when there was an upcoming election, referendum and local government election.
BY ANITA NYARKO