Ghana’s former Ambassador to the United Kingdom, Victor Smith, has pat Akufo-Addo on the back over his resolve to use legislation to disband vigilantism if all voluntary mechanisms fail.
Vigilantism has become an albatross on the neck of the country with many Ghanaians expressing worry about the violence associated with it and called for its outright disbandment in the country.
The two main political parties, the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP) and the largest opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) are culprits of forming vigilante groups, with the Ghana Police Service, estimating that each has five groups.
Commenting on vigilantism in his State of the Nation Address on the floor of Parliament, last Thursday, the President said what was tolerated over the years cannot and must not be accepted anymore, stressing that the peace and security of the country must not be taken for granted; not for a moment since “our children and grandchildren will not forgive us if we were to compromise our peace and stability. I will not permit that to occur under my watch”.
To that effect, he urged the leadership of the NPP to extend an invitation to the leadership of the NDC for a meeting on vigilantism, noting that the security services of the country will be on standby to assist the meeting.
“I want to use the platform of this message to make a sincere, passionate appeal to the leaders of the two main political parties in our country, NPP and NDC, to come together, as soon as possible, preferably next week, to agree on appropriate measures to bring an end to this worrying and unacceptable phenomenon of vigilantism in our body politic”.
“The events of last Monday in Kumasi where a meeting of the national and regional executives of the opposition NDC was broken up by acts of violence, leading to the tragic death of a citizen, have reinforced the urgent need for us to find the path”, he noted.
President Akufo-Addo, however, cautioned that “if voluntary disbandment by the parties is not feasible, then I will initiate legislation on the matter. Vigorous debate and the exchange of ideas should be the true basis of political dialogue and competition in our country, not the activities of party vigilante groups”.
Ambassador Smith interacting with Kwaku Owusu Adjei on Anopa Kasapa on Kasapa 102.5 FM, Monday, said issues of vigilantism is a threat to national security and has been discussing same with the President to disband it from Ghana.
“Making that profound statement on vigilantism and going to the extent of cautioning to use a legislation to disband it if voluntary mechanisms fails goes to suggest that the President has done well. I have always told the President to work towards disbanding vigilantism because it is now getting out of hand. More importantly, the Police should work hard by reinforcing the laws of the country to disband vigilantism. So, I couldn’t have agreed more with what the President said in his State of the Nation Address”, he noted.
Speaking further on the matter, Ambassador Smith proposed that there should be a law to debar any President from appointing the IGP, stressing that “the appointment of the IGP should be completely independent”.