The General Secretary of the Progressive Peoples Party [PPP], Murtala Mohammed, says the governing New Patriotic Party and the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) are to blame for the proliferation of vigilante groups in the country.
Appearing before the Emile Short Commission he outlined sources of electoral violence, which if not checked, will replay the Ayawaso West Wuogon by-election violence.
The Emile Short Commission has been tasked to investigate the violence which nearly marred the Ayawaso West Wuogon by-elections in Greater Accra which recently took place to elect a replacement for the MP Kyeremanteng Agyarko who passed on following a short illness in the United States of America.
In his testimony to the Commission Monday, Mr. Mutala Mahammed, identified “suspicion and mistrust” arising out of the appointment of Security Chiefs, the Electoral Commission Chair and the Judiciary, bodies responsible for manning electoral processes and having oversight responsibility over Electoral disputes, as causes leading opposition political parties to harbour doubt over the work of state organizations.
In the opinion of the PPP General Secretary, the formation of vigilante groups is only a response by political parties to the growing politicization of these institutions to protect their interest in electoral matters.
He said vigilantism “is a very complex situation, is not that easy, the problem is when you say disband them, it is like saying cut NPP and NDC, they create them, fund them and benefit from them.”
Mr. Mohammed argued before the Commission that vigilantism has become necessary because of the winner takes all mentality in Ghana since losing elections in Ghana means losing everything.
While he asserts that amending Article 21 can discourage the formation of vigilante groups, the PPP General Secretary affirmed that vigilantism has become acceptable largely because most of those recruited are unemployed and illiterate.
“Article 21 is also a problem that says everyone has the right to associate that he wants to belong to. We consider unemployment as a factor lack of education,” he told the Short Commission.
Even though he believes an encompassing job by the commission will be a great step forward in reforming the electoral process for the better, he wants the appointment of bodies with responsibilities towards elections to be appointed by a body other than a politician, the cancelation of the winner takes all political culture, provision of jobs and education for the many uneducated and unemployed youth.