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Actions of Political Vigilante Groups Are Criminal

It is common knowledge that political vigilantism is a stain on our democratic system and a source of great anxiety among Ghanaians all at once.

Various groups of young men attached at the hip to the two main political parties, the NPP and the NDC, have over the years gotten away with bloody murder for acting unlawfully in the full glare of impotent Ghanaian authorities.

Emboldened by the gross indifference shown by our political leaders, these vigilantes have literally taken our laws into their hands.

They prance around as if they are above the law, daring anyone to take them on and honestly, they don’t seem to care a hoot the havoc they cause our civil servants, our national institutions and national character.

A cluster of reasons have been advanced by experts to explain away the abhorrent behavior of these young men. Some say it is purely economic and assign it to the high rate of unemployment and the attendant endemic poverty so pervasive in the country.

Yet others attribute the actions of the vigilantes to an innate desire to stamp their authority on our political system, to get even with their political enemies, and in the process to send a clear message; “It is our time now.”

I do agree that the absence of jobs leads invariably to all kinds of odd, criminal and illegal behavior.

So, it goes without saying that if you barge into an office building and shut down a government agency and threaten workers with bodily harm if they don’t conform to your orders, then you are guilty of trespassing and harassment which I last checked are criminal acts punishable under our laws. By this logic, the actions of political vigilantes are illegal and criminal.

Yet despite this clear evidence of criminality on the part of the vigilantes, there are some experts who would want us to view them through a different lens. In short, they want us to look the other way.

You can therefore imagine my angst, my utter disbelief when a senior research fellow at the institute of democratic governance, Dr. Kwasi Jonas asserted rather strangely that the actions of political vigilante groups are not criminal but have social overtones.

I vehemently disagreed with Dr. Jonas. The behavior of the vigilante groups is criminal.Apparently, Dr. Jonas is intimating that because these boys are affiliated with the two powerful political parties in the country, they are thus untouchable.

Dr. Jonas position is grossly mistaken and the height of intellectual dishonesty.

Let’s for instance assume that if it were ordinary citizens who had stormed the offices of the National Sports Authority in Tamale last week and terrorized its workers, or ransacked the courthouse in Kumasi two years ago, do we for once think they would be walking free?

No. They will be arrested and prosecuted by a zealous government eager to send the message that you can’t flout our laws and go scott-free.

What I can deduce from Dr. Jonas’ comment is that he has neither been escorted out of his plush office nor his well being threatened by political operatives.

He should just exchange places with our civil servants like Hajia Salamatu and her co-workers and for a minute experience what it feels like to be pounced upon by a ragtag team of political hacks.

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