President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has hinted that his government would no longer tolerate the activities of political vigilantism in the country.
According to him, the activities of vigilante groups, if not checked, may dent the country’s democracy and subsequently bring to nought achievements chalked by both previous and current governments.
Delivering his third State of The Nation Address (SONA) in Parliament, yesterday, Nana Akufo-Addo called on the political leadership of the two main political parties—New Patriotic Party (NPP) and the National Democratic Congress (NDC) to, as a matter of urgency, disband all militia groups affiliated to them.
“…NPP and NDC must 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,” he said.
He was quick to note that the inability of both parties to facilitate the disbandment of ‘their’ militia groups, could lead to the initiation of a legislation process on the matter.
“What was tolerated over the years cannot and must not be accepted anymore. We must not take our peace and security for granted—not for a moment. Our children and grandchildren will not forgive us if we were to compromise our peace and stability. I will not permit that to happen under my watch. Our forebears paid too high a price, with their blood and toil, to bequeath to us this beautiful nation; the lives of our citizens are too precious to waste,” he stated.
The President’s submission on vigilantism seemed to be the highlight of the SONA, as it attracted loud applauds from Parliamentarians.
Some big wigs of the opposition NDC could be seen grinning from ear to ear—perhaps in agreement with the call.
Following the first recorded death in 2019, which is linked to the NDC’s ‘Hawk’, as well as the ‘bloody’ Ayawaso West Wuogon constituency by-elections, which is also believed to have been triggered by political vigilantism, it is obvious Nana Akufo-Addo is serious about bringing menace to an end.
Touching on other areas of security, he reiterated that the country’s security services are well-equipped to maintain the safety of citizens.
“The Ghana Armed Forces, in collaboration with other security agencies, have been in Operations Calm Life, Cowleg, Halt, Conquered, Fist, Gongon, Citadel, Ahodwo and Vanguard.
“Ayekoo to you, men and women of the Armed Forces. Ghana is proud of you. Your hard work is contributing to making our nation a safe place,” the president said.
But critics have blown hot breeze at the president’s words. For them, Akufo-Addo’s submissions on security pits against current happenings in the sector.
One bugging threat that has stirred up an alarming level of apprehension has been the kidnapping of girls in some parts of the country, and the inability of the security service to rescue those who have been abducted.
But the President says government is doing its best to ensure that security agencies are well equipped to follow through with their task.
“We have been busy this past year supplying the police with equipment, cars, motorbikes, drones and other vital policing equipment…the service too is waking up to its responsibilities and offering more training to their officers. I look forward to a better trained, better equipped and happier police service that has the respect and cooperation of the people,” the President noted.
By Grace Ablewor Sogbey