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Tue, Jul

Enact laws to stop political vigilantism - Naba Sigri Bewong urges Parliament

Naba Sigri Bewong (arrowed) with participants

The Chairman of the Upper East Regional Peace Council, Naba Sigri Bewong, has underscored the need for Parliament to take the bold step to enact laws to criminalise political vigilante groups or militias in the country.

He explained that that "bold step" when taken would prevent the country from being "fragmented" which could erode the gains made so far in the nation's democratic dispensation.

Naba Bewong, who is also the immediate past President of the Regional House of Chiefs and current Paramount Chief of the Sakote Traditional Area, made the suggestion at a stakeholders round-table discussion and public engagement on the "Menace of political party vigilantism and Ghana's Electoral Politics" in Bolgatanga last Friday.

It was organised by the Coalition of Domestic Election Observers (CODEO) with support from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).

Political parties

Naba Bewong, who was speaking on the way forward in curbing political party vigilantism, also pointed out the need for political parties to design mentoring programmes for their youth which should include assessing their political needs and assigning them to senior party people in business, party administration, Parliament, political communication and research.   

He said in doing this, political parties would be helping erase the notion that politics was perhaps the only profession for which no preparation is deemed necessary.

According to him,it was equally important for governments to ensure that jobs were given on merit and not on the basis of party affiliation.

"The motivation to join political vigilante groups is spurred by the notion that one's party must be in power before one can be employed in the public sector," Naba Bewong noted.

He also stated that the government, the private sector, parliamentarians and district assemblies should create job opportunities for the teeming youth to take care of themselves.

Naba Bewong was of the view that political parties, civil society organisations and governance think tanks should design "problem-solving programmes to equip the youth with the requisite skills in problem solving".

"Let us, therefore, draw the difference between genuine vigilantism and acts of criminality, impunity and political clientelism," he further suggested.

CODEO

The Advisory Board Member of CODEO, Sheikh Armiyaw Shaibu, noted that political vigilantism had been a worrying situation in the country's politics; hence, there must be concerted efforts to nip that illegal act in the bud just like the country was currently doing to combat galamsey activities.

Some of the participants includeding representatives from political parties, the National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE), civil society organisations, the Ghana Bar Association and other institutions,­ admitted that political vigilante groups should be educated on how best to consolidate the gains made so far in constitutional rule while making sure that their aspirations were met.