‘Vigilantism growing at alarming rate’

Findings from a survey conducted by the Center for Democratic Development-Ghana (CDD-Ghana) have revealed that vigilante activities are growing at an alarming rate in parts of the country despite the introduction of the Vigilantism and Related Offences Act.

The report found that all of the activities and the associated groups are related to the two major political parties, the New Patriotic Party (NPP) and the National Democratic Congress (NDC).

It also found that women were beginning to play key roles in political vigilantism which is now a business venture where people form groups and offer their services to the highest bidder.

Also, political vigilantes were not only formed by political parties, they were either formed like social groups or as a business venture that are affiliated to the NPP and the NDC.

Mildred Adzraku, a research analyst at CDD-Ghana made this known when she disclosed the findings of the research in Accra and pointed out that political vigilante groups with affiliation to the NPP and the NDC had been at forefront of unleashing torrents of violence in various forms which remained major source of concern for the citizenry.

“Beyond what women are known to do, support and assist in acting as peace ambassadors, they are now instigators of electoral violence, enablers and informants for some of the groups, major causes are winner-takes-all politics, unemployment and poverty as well as politicisation of chieftaincy disputes and land litigation.

“The two leading political parties are engaged by National Peace Council to find lasting solution to the menace, seeming mistrust for state institutions such as Electoral Commission and police are motivating formation of vigilante groups,” Ms Adzraku posited.

Before the dialogues concluded, the president gave his assent to the Vigilantism and Related Offences Act, 2019, which bans acts of vigilantism, passed by Parliament after he gave indications that he will be forced to use the legal option to address the phenomenon if the two parties failed to meet over the issue.

Per the new law, “a person who directly or indirectly instigates or solicits the activity of a vigilante, facilitates or encourages vigilantism, or conceals a vigilante to avoid lawful arrest, commits an offence, and is liable, on conviction, to a term of imprisonment of not less than 10 years and not more than 15 years.” -citinewsroom.com

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