National security promises to deal with political vigilantism

Mr Kan Dapaah (third from left), with other participants

Mr Kan Dapaah (third from left), with other participants

Mr. Albert Kan-Dapaah, the Minister of National Security has given the strongest indication that his outfit was not resting on its oars in devising strategies to deal with the surge of political vigilantism in the country.

“We are not sitting down as people think we are and not doing anything. This is a major national security challenge that worries us as a council and we are engaging real security experts on it to ensure we deal with this matter.

The issue is, we cannot always let out what exactly it is we are doing because these are intelligence and investigative matters and one of our cardinal principle is to keep quiet and not let the suspects know what you are about,” he pointed out.

Mr. Kan-Dapaah’s assurance comes on the back of heightened fears over the state of security in the country following the influx of vigilante groups particularly as the 2020 general elections draws close.

It would be recalled that at the just ended New Year School, speakers at a forum on political vigilantism had predicted mayhem in the upcoming elections if efforts were not strengthened to stamp out the canker which they said had become an entrepreneurial venture and assumed complex dimensions.

At a dialogue organised by the National Peace Council (NPC) with funding from the British High Commission on the topic in Accra yesterday, speakers in no uncertain terms condemned the act and unanimously agreed on the urgent need to stamp out political vigilantism to sustain the country’s democracy.

With participants drawn from political parties, security agencies including private security experts, stakeholder public agencies, civil society, media among others, the forum concluded that the failure of the country to weed out vigilante groups could result in far reaching consequences.

The National Security Minister while addressing the gathering, called for the cooperation of all Ghanaians most especially political leaders (as they had been identified to be the major benefactors of activities of vigilantes) to address the canker head on to consolidate Ghana’s democracy.

Commissioner of Police, Mr. Kofi Boakye reiterated the imminent danger facing the country come 2020, if political parties failed to take the bull by the horn and disband such vigilante groups while the security services are well-equipped to boldly deal with the menace.

“The major problem in dealing with vigilantism is the politicisation of crime where parties score political points with criminal activities so the police are afraid to give real information about crime rate and how to deal with it for fear of victimisation.

Crime must be treated as crime and not be a yardstick to determine the success or otherwise of a ruling party. Vigilantism is not an issue that we need arms and ammunitions to tackle, we must dissociate politics from crime fighting, identify the financiers of such groups and empower the police service psychologically to do their job without fear or favour to put it under control,” he emphasised.

The Chairman of the NPC, Right Reverend Professor Emmanuel Asante, underscored the need for the country to act fast on the menace of violent vigilante groups in line with achieving Ghana’s coordinated programme for economic and social policies (2017-2024).

In his view, politics should in no way lead to the creation of systems and structures that had the potential of “destroying not only the resources of the state but more importantly the peace and harmony that we as a people have celebrated as one nation with a common destiny”.

Prof. Asante in pledging his outfit commitment to work in transparency and harmony with all key stakeholders to uphold peace and unity, entreated political parties to exercise restraint on their followers and place the interest of Ghana first above theirs so as not to plunge the country into untold hardship and wreckage in the nearest future.

By Abigail Annoh


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