Former Deputy Secretary of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), Koku Anyidoho, has said it is not within the remit of political parties to stop acts of political vigilantism in the country, as was proposed by the President, Nana Akufo-Addo, during his 3rd State of the Nation Address.
Akufo-Addo Thursday said in Parliament that he has asked the leadership of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) and the NDC to a dialogue on how to deal with the scourge of political vigilantism in the country.
The president said if the two parties fail to heed his directive, he will be obliged to legislate on the matter, but many have questioned what kind of legislation the president could possibly bring since there are already laws on criminal conduct.
Speaking on the Saturday edition of TV3’s morning show, The Key Points, Mr. Anyidoho, observed there is more to solving the problem of political vigilantism than merely a dialogue between the two leading political parties.
He said the “onus” lies more on state institutions, especially the police service, who are mandated by law to ensure law and order, as well as to protect citizens of the country.
“Now this issue of vigilantism, I think that it goes beyond political parties, and let’s look at the institutions of state”, he said.
“The Criminal Offenses Act is very clear of what is a crime and what is not”, he reiterated how state institutions can work within the law to clamp down on activities of political militias.
He maintains that the fight against vigilantism requires a concerted effort and not mere talk as witnessed in the State of the Nation Address by the President.
“So if we are to tackle this thing it goes beyond the State of the Nation address, it now moves into the realm of national discourse”, he noted
Meanwhile, the ex-NDC executive has little faith that the Emile Short Commission of Inquiry which has been set up by the government to investigate the Ayawaso West Wuogon by-election violence and political vigilantism, will deliver satisfactory results.
According to him, the findings of the commission cannot be used to prosecute the perpetrators of the crimes which the NDC refer to as “state-sponsored violence”.
“Now this commission of inquiry thing just tells us there is no intention to punish… let’s get to the bottom of the matter and change our ways, no one will be punished”, he said.
“So the ‘Azugus’ can go and ‘azugu’ all they want and say all they want to say, you can’t punish him”, he added, making refers to the submissions of the Commander of the Police SWAT, DSP Samuel Azugu, when he appeared before the commission.
Mr. Anyidoho is of the view that until the appointing authority of heads of state intuitions like the police service is checked, the fight against vigilantism remains a wild goose chase, noting the appointing authority is always a politician.