Majority Leader Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu says the number of young people engaged in vigilantism poses a serious threat to the future of the country.
Mr. Bonsu said “we have great numbers of youth who will want to sacrifice their lives for some people because they promised them heaven, and that is dangerous because these politicians dump them after they have used them for their personal interest.”
The Minister painted this picture at an encounter with the media on the fight against vigilantism under the theme: “Curbing Political Vigilantism: The Media’s Take”.
Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu who is also the Member of Parliament for Suame Constituency in the Ashanti Region advised the youth against joining any political vigilante group.
“Why should the youth endanger himself for someone else to win political power? There is a depth of patriotic and selfless people in Ghana who are willing to lay down their lives for this country.
“This impunity must be stopped right in its track. If we do not stop political vigilantism, it could escalate from ‘boot for boot’ to ‘bomb to bomb.”
The Minister warned that “conflict is so close to us. If we do not put our house to order because of internal conflicts vigilantism could escalate.”
The activities of political vigilante groups create general state of insecurity through direct, structural and cultural violence and if not checked could lead to a state of paralysis and state capture with its attendant problems.
These pernicious effects of these political vigilante groups have been well articulated by academics, political parties, social commentators, religious leaders and all democracy-seeking institutions and individuals and development partners.
Considering the crucial role of the media in nation-building, especially in promoting peace, security and development, they can prove invaluable in supporting efforts at addressing the incipient violent political vigilantism in the country.
It is against this backdrop that the Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs, in line with its mission of engaging the media in the national development efforts, is organizing this dialogue with the media to elicit their support in curbing political vigilantism in Ghana.
NPP, NDC praised
The Chief Director at the Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs, Dr. Eric Oduro Osae, said the willingness of the main political parties, the New Patriotic Party (NPP) and the National Democratic Congress (NDC) to sit with the National Peace Council to find a lasting solution to the canker is commendable.
He added that with the vigilantism bill in parliament, it can curb the canker but there is the need for the citizens to be patriotic.
Dr. Oduro Osae revealed that the law when passed will ensure harsh punishment for offenders and was optimistic that will deter people from indulging in vigilantism.
The Chief Director noted that offenders can serve between 5-15 years while those who sponsor the activities of vigilantism can serve between 10-25-years imprisonment.
Media to name and shame
The President of the Ghana Journalists Association (GJA), Dr. Roland Affail Monney, promised the media will name and shame individuals who would oppose the disbandment of the vigilantism.
“As media practitioners, with huge project to disband vigilantism, we should name and shame anyone or any group which poses an obstacle to do away with vigilantism and consign them to the dustbin of history”, he explained.
“It is said that any law which has no element of education is a hallucination. So after the law is passed, as media practitioners, we have a duty imposed by urgent necessity in the supreme national interest to educate Ghanaians by the provisions of the law to get them to own this law, to get them internalize this law and reflect them in their daily lives”.