Muslim groups condemn political vigilantism

BY: Edward Acquah
FLASHBACK : Members of the Invisible Forces take their turn to ask a question at the Tema Town Hall meeting
FLASHBACK : Members of the Invisible Forces take their turn to ask a question at the Tema Town Hall meeting

The Tijjaniya Muslims Movement of Ghana (TMMG) and the Islamic Peace and Security Council of Ghana (IPASEC) have condemned what they described as the rise and promotion of political vigilante groups in Africa, particularly in Ghana.

In a joint press statement signed by the Director of the TMMG, Sheikh Dr Abubakar M.M. Azindoo, and the Director of Operations at the IPASEC, Mr Sherif Ali Dankubar, the two Islamic institutions said the development threw a bad light on Ghana’s democratic achievements over the years.

While faulting Ghana’s two larger political parties, the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP) and the National Democratic Congress (NDC), for the rise in cases of vigilantism in the country, the statement warned of dangerous consequences if the menace was not uprooted.

“Vigilantism is a threat to the relative peace in the country and a mockery of the democratic gains we have made so far.

When mere party activists calling themselves vigilante groups and their paymasters take the law into their own hands with impunity, they will sow a seed of anarchy,” it read, adding that such groups existed to “protect the parochial interest of their sponsors and political godfathers by violence”.

Appeal

The statement appealed to the Ministry of the Interior and the Ghana Police Service to take the necessary steps to disband all vigilante groups in the country.

It also added that although the situation required vigorous resistance on the part of the government and Ghana’s security agencies, a much holistic approach involving the entire citizenry was required to secure a definite end.

For this reason, the two pro-Islamic advocacy groups called on all Ghanaians to add their voices to the cause of eradicating vigilantism in all spheres of Ghana’s democratic practices.

“We call on Ghanaians to add their voices to the efforts to eradicate the culture of vigilantism in the country. It is a civic responsibility of the entire citizenry to protect peace, democracy and the rule of law in Ghana,” it stated.

Vigilantism in Ghana

Ghana’s political space has, in recent times, seen the formation of politically motivated vigilante groups over the last few years.

While some opposition parties have expressed a loss of confidence in the country’s security agencies to ensure their protection and, thus, resorted to the creation of internal security forces, other parties took the course for diverse reasons against the interest of the country’s security structures.

A year ago, members of Delta Force, a vigilante group believed to be attached to the governing NPP, stormed a Circuit Court in Kumasi and forcibly freed 13 of their members who were facing charges for causing mayhem at the Ashanti Regional Coordinating Council.

The development influenced discussions on the dangers associated with the emergence of vigilante groups in the country. A call on authorities to root out all vigilante groups proved futile as they continue to exist and operate.

The latest on the scene is the formation of The Hawks, believed to be the brainchild of the NDC, after they showed heavy presence at the party’s recent regional elections in the Ashanti Region.