Governance expert, Daniel Batidam has cautioned the government to crack the whip on vigilante activities or risk all politicians paying the ultimate price.
The former Ghana and West Africa’s representative on African Union (AU) Advisory Board on Corruption said, the modus operandi of the vigilante groups is gradually destabilising the county’s democracy and they must be stopped.
Addressing the governing New Patriotic Party’s (NPP) affiliated vigilante groups, Mr Batidam said their demand for accountability from the government is not misplaced, it must, however, be placed in context, he noted.
“It has to do with accountability, they [NPP vigilante groups] were made some promises by the political party [NPP] that they will be given some jobs and now they are demanding accountability…” Mr Batidam stated.
“…on the face, it may look like a legitimate demand but as a country, we must look beyond them as a group and ask how do we get our promises because if you take it beyond that group, it would also be the same for every other Ghanaian,” he added.
Speaking on the Super Morning Show on Joy FM Tuesday, Mr Batidam argued that the answer to promises made by the political parties cannot be demanded through violence and causing panic.
“…it’s a very dangerous thing happening in our politics,” the former John Mahama appointee told his host, Daniel Dadzie.
He added that the Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo-led government must ensure the arrest and prosecution of his party’s affiliated vigilante groups that have caused several disturbances since the party won power 21 months ago.
If the government fails to do this, Mr Batidam fears other groups of persons may tow the lines of these vigilante groups; like the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) has started.
“Very soon if it becomes clear that any group can get up and use any methods to subvert democracy…if lawlessness becomes legalised, other groups may take a cue and use methods that are unlawful and illegal [to demand accountability as well]…” he lamented.
“…and one day the politicians themselves will run,” he fears; adding that the advice goes to all politicians and not just those at the helm today.
What has the vigilante groups been doing?
Days after the Electoral Commission (EC) declared the NPP won the 2016 polls, groups belonging to the party seized toll booths including the one on the famous Accra-Tema Motorway.
In April 2017, one of the groups, the Delta Force, in an unprecedented event in Ghana, stormed a Court in Kumasi to free their colleagues who were on trial for breaking into the offices of the Ashanti Regional Security Coordinator.
Just this weekend, another group stormed a meeting organised by the Tafo Pankrono Member of Parliament, citing failed promises.
Mr Batidam believes Public officials are now endangered because they go somewhere and they [vigilantes] vent anger on you.