Eagles Forum has called on the president, political parties and the media to broaden the conversation around ending political vigilantism in the country.
In a press release signed by the Think Tank’s Vice President, Dominic K. Louis on Friday and copied Citinewsroom, the group stated that “limiting the current debate to getting our politicians to commit to disbanding militias they themselves have created, financed and sponsored and not looking at the bigger picture of other illegal private militias such as “landguardism”, pastor’s protection guards etc., will not lead to a holistic approach in eliminating this menace from our social fabric.”
The debate around political vigilantism in the country has intensified following the violence that marred the Ayawaso West Wuogon (AWW) Constituency elections in January.
In February, two people were shot, with one dead, at the opposition NDC headquarters in Kumasi by members of a pro-NDC vigilante group “The Hawks”.
The incident in AWW led to the constitution of the Emile Short Commission, which concluding 12 days of public hearing on Friday.
The President, in his State of the Nation address, called on the two main political parties, the NPP and the NDC, to dialogue towards ending the problem of political militias.
While commending the president for his efforts, Eagles Forum said they found it a bit worrying that the president adamant to the idea of involving other mediators like the Peace Council or Civil Society groups in the process as suggested by the opposition NDC.
“We are strongly of the opinion that involving an independent mediator(s) is the most reasonable way to go if the President really intends to resolve this issue. Can we for a second imagine the kind of reportage that will be coming out of these meeting, with each party running to the press on each occasion to spin information and portray the other party as being the one not cooperating at the meeting or making unreasonable demands? How can we expect these two political parties to resolve an issue for which both are benefactors without an independent mediator that both of them trust?,” the statement queried.
In order to totally eliminate the issue of political vigilantism, Eagles Forum believes the conversation must be broaden to cover the following areas:
–Total reformation of our security architecture, investigative architecture and our criminal jurisprudence to free the Police, EOCO, National Security, Special Prosecutor and the Attorney General from any form of political influence
-Begin the bigger conversation of ‘landguardism’, political vigilantism, the operations of illegal private militias, and its concomitant derivatives, a phenomenon that affects the citizenry on a daily basis
-Creating the environment that allows private investigative bodies like Tiger Eye PI to flourish and be available for use by private citizens.
-Creating the legal framework that allows private security companies who offer private personal security services to citizens who need their services to operate.
Eagle Forum are also calling on the president to institute an independent investigation into media reports that his party, the NPP, were training illegal party militia at the former seat of government, the Osu Castle.
“If true, the status quo is unacceptable, unfortunate and reprehensible and further cast a doubt on our political elite’s commitment to the security of the state and its citizens.”