Former Ashanti region Peace Council chairman has called for the activities of people who provide bodyguard services to be streamlined as part of measures to disband party militias.

Prof. Seth Opuni Asiamah fears people who will lose their places in existing groups could potentially be deployed by individuals to provide such services after the disbandment.

“It is these people who come together to form these vigilante groups. And therefore if we are talking about disbanding them we should look at this whole question of bodyguards, not only for politicians but even men of God,” he told Joy News.

He was speaking at the 58th Annual Synod of the Kumasi Diocese of the Methodist Church Ghana.

The conversation to disband party militias traces its root from the January 2019 by-election in the Ayawaso West Wuogon, which was marred by violence.

This set in motion series of executive actions which were meant to put to rest the phenomenon of party militia.

The Emile Short Commission tasked to investigate the violence has submitted its report.

Equally, the two leading political parties, the NDC and NPP, are currently in a conference being moderated by the National Peace Council to voluntarily disband party vigilante groups loyal to them following a directive by the President.

The Bill before Parliament is perhaps the final push to completely bury political vigilantism.

According to the ten clause Bill, laid before parliament by the Minister for Justice and Attorney General at the instance of the President, “failure to comply with the requirements of the Bill is punishable by a term of imprisonment of not less than five years and not more than fifteen years.”

But Prof. Seth Opuni Asiamah believes that is not enough. According to him, the ongoing efforts must be augmented by a national policy regarding activities of such bodyguards. 

The policy must include their training, salary and the kind of arms they can carry in the discharge of their duties.

“Certainly we need to streamline them if we think we need to keep them in the system,” he said.

Alternatively, he has argued that what can abate the phenomenon of vigilantism is providing jobs for the many youths idling about. 

“The bottom line is getting the boys jobs to do. When they are fully employed they will not have time to become bodyguards or anything to anybody else,” he told Joy News.