NCCE urges govt to enforce Vigilantism Act before Election 2020

The National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE) has urged the government to ensure the strict enforcement of the Vigilantism and Related Offences Act 2019 before the 2020 general election.

It noted that the findings of a survey by the Center for Democratic Development (CDD)- Ghana which revealed that vigilante groups are still active and budding in various parts of the country despite its illegality and also involved females.

The Commission stressed on the need to critically implement the dictates of the act to ensure that such groups are deterred from perpetrating violence before, during and after the 2020 elections.

According to Ms Josephine Nkrumah, the Chairperson of the Commission, “we really hope the survey and regulations will not be taken lightly but we will find the law enforcement agencies themselves going ahead and coming out with expedition because right now they have full backing of the Vigilantism Act, they can look at criminal elements and allow full rigors of the law apply.

“This time round the vigilante act prescribes 10 to 15 years of someone going to jail for flouting the act. It important that we test the law to serve as deterrent before the 2020 elections since findings from survey conducted by CDD revealed vigilante activities are growing at an alarming rate involving even females in parts of the country despite introduction of Vigilantism and Related Offences Act,” Ms Nkrumah cautioned.

The report found activities and associated groups are related to the two major political parties, the New Patriotic Party (NPP) and the National Democratic Congress (NDC) which also found women were beginning to play key roles in such vigilante activities.

On cause of electoral violence and vigilantism, the report found major causes were ‘Winner-Takes-All’ politics, unemployment and poverty as well as politicisation of chieftaincy disputes, land litigation, seeming mistrust for state institutions such as the Electoral Commission and police motivating formation of vigilante groups.

Political vigilante groups with affiliation to NPP and the NDC have been at the forefront of unleashing torrents of violence in various forms which remained major source of concern for the citizenry and engaged by National Peace Council to find way to address the menace of political party vigilantism.

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