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Opinions of Thursday, 11 October 2018

Columnist: Thomas Akanyibah

Political vigilantism: An accelerating threat to Ghana’s democracy

In one of the philosophical comics created by weapon instructors in the paramilitary forces in Ghana, it has been jokingly asserted that the first man to have made a gun did not intend to kill a human being with it but to scare birds from his rice farm due to the grandiose sound it makes. But after guns began to take away lives, the maker deeply regretted.

Academically, it has also been palpably recorded that Albert Einstein's deepest regret is the signature he appended on a letter urging Franklin Roosevelt on to research into his theories on Atomic Bombs. Einstein felt very sorry after Hiroshima and Nagasaki were devastated by Atomic Bombs. He signed the letter because he felt Germany would be able to make the Bombs. So in a confession, he stated, *"Had I known that the Germans would not succeed in producing an atomic bomb, I would have never lifted a finger."*

In addition, I would make a quick reference from the Holy Bible since Ghanaians understand and believe its content with a flawless reverence. In Genesis chapter 6 verse 5, the writer wrote, "The Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually."* In the sixth verse which happens to be more heart-breaking, God is reported to have remarked, "And the Lord regretted that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him to his heart.”... But he created man not for this wicked purpose.

In the same vein, Nigeria is spending huge sums of money in an attempt to either incapacitate or erase Boko Haram and the Rebels in Niger Delta because of the provoking crimes they have committed against humanity and the state. It must however be noted that they started as young vigilante groups especially in the Niger Delta to stand for their rights which were then being violated by the Oil and Gas industry situated in the community, but in the latter-days, they have graduated into untamed armed rebels.

Similarly, political vigilante groups have a long history of lawlessness. In fact, they are outlaws in a police state like Ghana. They sacked public servants from their offices and locked them up, they have assaulted public servants and innocents citizens without just cause, they have even assaulted state security personnel and gone ahead to do the unthinkable.

On April 6 this year, a political vigilante group which calls itself "Delta Force" stormed the KMA court in kumasi to free their colleagues who had been arraigned for assaulting a public officer and other related offences. This action was completely treasonable in other jurisdictions. In fact, it is the worst crime any citizen would ever commit by "molesting" a court. Certainly, it is just like overthrowing the constitution and installing dictatorship thereby subjecting The Rule of Law to paralysis or extinction.

Unfortunate to these occurrences is the mild action of the law enforcement agencies due to the obvious political influence on these institutions. We therefore must not wait to witness the explosion of these acts of impunity in our beloved country. Ghana belongs to us- it is our inheritance that was preserved with the blood and toils of our fathers. Our fore fathers did not know what a political party was, all they knew was their common identities as Ghanaians.

It is therefore urgent and imperative on the state to grant the Police Service its absolute independence in order to deal with all forms of crime, irrespective of political colour, creed or ethnic background without fear or favor.

The writer is a police officer, a security analyst and a freelance social commentator.

Email: Akanzaawein@gmail.com.