National

Peace Council moves to eliminate vigilantism

The National Peace Council (NPC) has called for the support of stakeholders in efforts to ensure a peaceful and violent-free general election.

It said violence perpetrated by party-affiliated vigilante groups had become a major threat to Ghana’s democracy and the peace of the nation, hence the need to work as team to eliminate the canker.

A member of the Governing Board of the NPC, Osei Yaw Owusu Sekyere, made the call at a sensitisation workshop on advocacy against vigilantism in Ghana, held at Bibiani in the Western North Region.

The programme, organised by the Western Regional Peace Council, with support from the Danish Embassy, brought together representatives of the two major political parties; the New Patriotic Party and National Democratic Congress, religious groups, the Municipal Assembly, Police, National Commission for Civic Education, the Electoral Commission, and Media.

Mr Sekyere said politically motivated violence had become a worrying trend and called for concerted efforts by all and sundry to help fight it.

He cited the Ayawaso West Wuogon by-election violence, which awakened the nation to the reality of the dangers of vigilantism, and the setting up of the Emile Short Commission, which gave birth to the Vigilantism and Related Offences Act, 2019, (Act 999), to give a legal backing to the fight against the menace.

Mr Sekyere, therefore, urged the participants and all stakeholders to support the Regional and National Peace councils to ensure very peaceful and violent-free general election.

Senior Assistant Director at the Bibiani-Ahwiaso-Bekwai Municipal Assembly, Atta Frimpong urged political party functionaries to use decent language during campaigns in order not to inflame passion and cause mayhem and advised the youth to stay away from violence.

He charged participants at the workshop to educate the public to comport themselves, before, during and after the election so as to preserve the peace of the constituency and Ghana as a whole.

Messrs Kojo Impraim, Deputy Director of Research, Monitoring and Evaluation, and Damien Asobayire, Western Regional Executive Secretary, both of the NPC, took participants through topics like: Roadmap to Eradication of Political Vigilantism in Ghana, Code of Conduct for Political Parties, and the Vigilante and Related Offences Act (Act 999).

Abigail Amponsah, also of the NPC, took participants through early warning signs and Hot Spots to watch, Implementation/Action Plan and Formation of Monitoring Teams.

Later, in an open forum, participants unanimously expressed their commitment to partnering the

Regional Peace Council to sensitise the public on the importance of peaceful atmosphere before, during and after the election.