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Mistrust For Security Agencies Leads To Vigilantism - David Asante   
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The managing director of Ghana Publishing Company, David Asante says the formation of vigilante groups by political parties has become “an unfortunate albatross handing around the neck of the country.”

According to Mr Asante, the formation of these groups by political parties is borne out of mistrust for the security agencies, especially the Police, who are given the mandate to protect the ballot during elections.  

“These vigilante groups are usually used by the parties to protect the ballot during elections. The fact of the matter is that the parties don’t trust the security agencies, hence they feel the need to get their own people they can trust to protect the ballot,” he told the Daily Statesman in an interview.

He was speaking on the sidelines of a public forum organised by the Let My Vote Count Alliance (LMVCA) on the theme “Vigilance vs Vigilantism – The Act of Protecting the Ballot”.


David Asante, who is the convener of the LMVCA, in his opening remarks noted that vigilantism goes beyond elections.

He explained that after vigilante groups have helped to secure electoral victory for their political party, “they then expect the government to reciprocate by giving them their share of state resources.”

This, he added, brings about high and often unrealistic expectations of the government of the day.

“It is no wonder that in the past, after transfer of power, vigilante groups have taken over state properties such as toll booths and public toilets. This stems from a false sense of entitlement and unfulfilled promises,” Mr Asante stated.  

Vigilance vs vigilantism

He noted that because the future of the country’s democracy is hinged on elections, the credibility, integrity and sanctity of that exercise cannot be taken for granted.

Mr Asante explained that political parties and candidates rely heavily on the vigilance of their agents and supporters to ensure credible elections. “To be vigilant means to be watchful and awake. In this sense, vigilance has nothing to do with violence,” he stressed.  

On the other hand, he explained vigilantism to mean law enforcement undertaken without legal authority by a self-appointed group of people.

“Basically, it is a group of people ‘taking the law into their own hands and the violent display of brute force to protect the interest of a group that one belongs to’.  Vigilante groups therefore breed violence,” he stated.  

Star of democracy

Mr Asante extolled Ghana’s position as a trailblazer and a shining star of democracy in Africa. He, therefore, urged all stakeholders, especially leaders of the various political parties, to help find an acceptable way of dealing with the issue of political vigilantism so that it does not become a blot on the nation’s democratic credentials.
Source: Peacefmonline.com

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