Study on Domesticating Vigilantism in Ghana’s Fourth Republic: The Challenge Ahead
Political party vigilantism has been on the rise in Ghana since the country’s return to constitutional rule in 1993. The impact of vigilante groups’ violent activities in Ghana cannot be separated from elections. Their activities have typically taken place during and after elections throughout the country. Acts of violence have marred by-elections in Atiwa, Akwatia, Chereponi, Talensi, Amenfi West, and, most recently, Ayawaso West Wuogon. For the first time, political party vigilante groups stormed a courtroom in Kumasi in 2017 and freed some of their members on trial for assaulting a regional security coordinator in the country’s second largest city. The Ashanti region is a region in Ghana. The purpose of this paper is to highlight the dangers inherent in this rather negative development, which has the potential to reverse Ghana’s gains in democratic consolidation. On vigilantism in Ghana, the author relied on secondary data such as relevant media publications and statements from civil society organizations, political parties, and religious bodies. The findings show that the seed of vigilantism has been sown and allowed to grow to the point where the parties have taken unwavering positions to end the canker because it threatens political power. A law has been passed, but there are no indications that much will change. The National Peace Council has intervened, but there is no sign of a long-term solution. The paper concludes that all stakeholders, particularly civil society organizations and religious bodies, must be objective and bold in openly naming and shaming political parties whose members engage in negative vigilantism and urging the masses to vote against such parties, or else the phenomenon will persist and have disastrous consequences.
Dr. George Asekere
Department of Political Science Education, University of Education, Winneba, Ghana.
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