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Time to End Political Vigilantism

The Emile Short Commission investigating the Ayawaso West Wuogon Constituency by-election violence, on Thursday, presented its final report to President Nana Akufo-Addo, in Accra.

Although the three-member commission did not disclose details of the report, they were however optimistic that the recommendations, if implemented, would lead to a total clamp down on political vigilantism in the country.

Following its establishment on February 6 earlier this year, the commission took testimony from 20 witnesses including Minister of the Interior, National Security and the Inspector General of Police (IGP), David Asante-Apeatu, and other senior officers of the Ghana Police Service as well as Member of Parliament (MP) of Ningo Prampram, Sam George, officials of the National Security and among others.

Mr Justice Emile Short expressed gratitude to the President for setting up a commission to help “stamp out the evil of electoral violence from the country’s body politics.”

 President Akufo -Addo assured that the government would study the document and implement to the letter the recommendations of the commission.

In another show of commitment to end political vigilantism, the President has served notice that, he had instructed the Attorney General, Gloria Akuffo, to draft legislation to deal with the phenomenon of political vigilantism.

This was contained in a response letter to Samuel Ofosu Ampofo, chairman of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) on the need for the New Patriotic Party (NPP) and the NDC to meet and dialogue on how best to end political vigilantism.

The legislation is expected to provide the framework and sanctions against anyone or group of persons who engage in political violence in the name of vigilantism.

President Akufo-Addo said, his decision to introduce legislation in the fight against vigilantism was without prejudice to the outcome of the possible engagement between the NPP and NDC to find lasting solution to the menace.

The Ghanaian Times welcomes both the Commission’s report and the drafting of the legislation which we consider to be the beginning of efforts to rid the country of vigilantism.

The recommendations in the report and inputs from various stakeholders in the preparation of the legislation provides a much-needed foundation for an effective means to clamp down on the menace, which has been described by some Ghanaians as ‘militias’.

We regret that the two parties, which have been blamed for the emergence of vigilantism in the body politics of the country, have so far not found a  common ground after  the President’s call for them to meet and dialogue on how to end the menace.

The time to end political violence is now and we cannot fail ourselves.

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