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Vigilantism is a social problem not a crime- IDEG senior research Fellow

Senior Research Fellow at Institute of Democratic Governance (IDEG), Dr Kwasi Jonas has jumped to the defense of vigilante groups whose activities become under serious scrutiny.

In the view of Dr Jonas, the young people who engage in violence by attacking public and civil servants and sometimes vandalizing state properties should not be tagged as criminals.

The continued brandishing of them as criminals, he noted, would defeat efforts to end vigilantism in Ghana.

According to him, vigilante groups within the political parties have gone beyond crime and authorities must see it as a social problem rather than crime.

At the time that stakeholders including the Nation Peace Council and the various political parties are trying to find common ground on how to address violent activities by vigilantism, a group called Kandahar Boys loyal to the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP) went and locked up the office and terrorized the staff of the National Sports Authority at the Alhaji Aliu Mahama Sports Stadium.

This, many believe, was a major setback in the commitment by political parties to disown such groups. But speaking to Zaa News in Tamale on the activities of vigilant groups affiliated with political parties and its implications on democracy, Dr Jonas said the move by the president to have parliament enact law was a good one but the underlining factors need more attention than the law.

He emphasized that most of the young people who engage in violent acts are have either have  low level of education, no skills or have no job and as a country that should be a concern.

“Anytime political vigilantism came up, what people have in mind was that they are a group of young people out there to cause mayhem and visit violence on innocent people.” Dr Jonas stated.

The actions of the young people he said are as a results of poverty and a problem of unemployment.

Ghana, Dr Jonas noted have not been able to run the kind of economy that can create employment for young people.

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