UK envoy slams party vigilantes

Jon Benjamin, British High Commissioner to Ghana.Mr. Jon Benjamin, British High Commissioner in Accra has criticised the formation of party vigilante groups in the country, saying they are incompatible with democracy in the 21st century.

“We believe that public security is the job of security officers, and theirs alone. There should be no role for so-called party vigilante groups; we think such groups are wholly incompatible with democracy in the 21st century,” he stated.

He was speaking at the launch of educational, training and other materials to educate the police and the general public on the forthcoming general elections.

Mr. Benjamin said the British government did not support any political party in Ghana, neither was it trying to influence the outcome of the election.

“The UK has no favoured party and no favoured candidate in this election. What we want to see is a peaceful, credible, free and fair election, after which, as we always have, we will work very happily with whoever the people of Ghana vote into power,” he said.

Mr. Benjamin said the Ghana Police Service, with support from UKAID and the Department for International Development (DFID), had produced a number of electoral education materials such as flyers, posters, duty armlets, election booklets among others, as part of efforts to ensure peace before, during and after the elections.

He noted also that the DFID had been working with a wide range of Ghanaian partners over the last eight months to develop a programme aimed at supporting the elections adding that part of the UK programme would involve 400,000 pounds of support to the Ghana Police Service.

He reiterated UK’s consideration of visa bans on anyone either behind violence or those heightening tension unnecessarily, through intimidation, incitement or hate speech.

The Inspector-General of Police (IGP), Mr. John Kudalor, expressed gratitude to the UK government for its efforts to help ensure peaceful elections.

He said the materials would be distributed to regional and divisional commanders for effective use.

 

By Agnes Opoku Sarpong

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