The Coalition of Domestic Election Observers (CODEO) has condemned the growing feature of vigilante groups in the country’s political system.
It has, therefore, called on political parties to disband these affiliated groups.
At a media briefing addressed jointly by Mr John Larvie and Mr Nicholaus Akyire, CODEO advisory board members in Koforidua in the Eastern Region, CODEO also urged other stakeholders, particularly the security agencies, to address this growing menace.
It observed that the existence of political vigilante groups was illegal and that the Ghana Police Service should ban these groups immediately as a matter of national security.
According to CODEO, the leadership of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) and the National Democratic Congress (NDC) who were largely responsible for the emergence of these groups in the fourth republic, should own up to their responsibilities and work together.
At its post-election national stakeholders workshop, following the December 2016 polls, held at Ada in the Greater Accra Region, CODEO made this subject one of the post-election issues for discussion and deliberation.
This was in recognition of the danger that political party vigilante groups posed to the country’s electoral politics and democratic development.
In order to sustain the conversation on ridding the country’s political space of party vigilantes and their activities, and to prevent the matter from being overshadowed by other happenings, CODEO has embarked on a nationwide public engagement through round-table discussions on the growing phenomenon.
The phenomenon of political party vigilante groups and their activities have gradually found their way into the centre stage of Ghana’s electoral politics, particularly in the fourth republic.
Over the course of time, manifestations of party vigilante groups with violent approach during each phase of the electoral cycle, especially since the 2000s, have been apparent.
The 2016 presidential and parliamentary elections of Members of Parliament were no exception. The immediate post-election phase also witnessed some incidents around the political transition, nearly marring the almost smooth process.
The manifestations of political party vigilante groups have continued in the transition and into the post-election governance period.
CODEO is an independent and non-partisan network of civil society groups, faith-based organisations and professional bodies which observe Ghanaian elections. It was established in 2000 under the auspices of the Ghana Centre for Democratic Development (CDD-Ghana) to mobilise citizens of Ghana to actively participate in the electoral process and to complement the efforts of Ghana’s Electoral Commission in ensuring transparent, free, fair and peaceful elections.