A Senior Research Fellow at Centre for Democratic Development (CDD) Ghana, Dr Kojo Pumpuni Asante had cause to caution us all about the emergence of vigilantism in Ghana’s party politics calling for authorities in charge to “deal with the situation”.
Speaking to Joy News’ Evans Mensah on Ghana Connect he was convinced “that Ghanaians have created a monster that is going to eat them up in the future if something is not done about vigilantism”.
“There are so many dynamics to vigilante groups but some of them are personality driven. The rise of the Azorka boys in the National Democratic Congress (NDC) for example led to rewards for those who controlled them.
“The fact that vigilantes are rewarded and it is true that every time they come in with the ruling government they are incorporated into the security system,” he said.
He added that “this comes with a huge security problem for all of us because it then leads to political manipulation of the individuals and not the state.”
His comment is in a reaction to the NDC General Secretary, Johnson Asiedu Nketia, defending the fresh emergence of vigilante groups within the party.
Dr. Asante said political parties engaging these well-built and self-motivated individuals so willing to engage in violence only creates a problem for political parties especially when they win power.
He explained that with the country’s employment issues once a large number of such people form a group with such an agenda, they become a security risk.
“People see that as an avenue to earn an income but the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Center has shown us that there is a marketplace for violence in the country which is seasonal. At election time it is vigilantes and when it over it is land guards.
“Some of them then go into other crimes. So, there is always somebody to pay for violence and that leaves it in a much dangerous mix,” he said.
For his part, Justice Srem Sai, a law lecturer at GIMPA, said the politicisation of vigilantism is not helpful to the country and something must be done to stem the tide.