The Inspector General of Police, David Asante-Apeatu, has appealed to Ghanaians to boycott voting for politicians associated with party militia groups.
He said once such individuals are denied political power, they will not be motivated to keep and sponsor such groups who cause mayhem in the country.
“It is my firm belief that if all of us say whoever has a vigilante group in this political party, ‘we are not going to vote for you’, you won’t get that power,” he told the Emile Short Commission investigating the Ayawaso West Wuogon by-election violence, Tuesday.
The IGP said political parties claim they do not sponsor party militia groups but ndividuals in the party may be doing so. The IGP stressed that it is in the interest of the country that this is done.
“I am sure if we all do that, it will make the work of the police much easier because what we are seeing now if it metamorphoses into another stage, it will be so difficult to reverse it,” he admitted.
Last month, Mr Asante Apeatu directed political parties to denounce vigilante groups claiming allegiance to them with immediate effect.
He said it is against the country’s laws for political parties to have such groups that have recently been disturbing the peace of the country.
The governing New Patriotic Party (NPP) and opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) are the two leading political parties with the most number of vigilante groups in the country.
In September last year, the opposition NDC’s General Secretary, Johnson Asiedu Nketia defended the fresh emergence of vigilante groups within the party.
He told Joy News the emergence of groups like Hawks is “an appropriate natural response” to the failure of the Akufo-Addo government to rein in its party vigilante groups.
“I endorse it fully,” the NDC mastermind refused to condemn the Hawks which is the latest group.
Other groups include ‘The Dragons’ based in the Brong Ahafo (now Bono) region and ‘The Lions’ based in the Eastern region.
General Mosquito as he is popularly called, proceeded to list several pieces of evidence of insecurity created under the NPP government.
But his action was widely condemned by Civil Society Organisations (CSOs), individuals and groups.
Obviously worried about the growing phenomenon, Mr Asante-Apeatu lauded the swift condemnation by concerned CSOs, groups, prominent and private individuals.
“It [fight against vigilantism] is very dear to my heart and the Ghana Police Service has already started [the fight] with banners showing that vigilantism is a threat to our democracy,” he said.
He said they have started putting banners at the police headquarters and they have received support from the Ghana Pentecostal Council in their crusade to put an end to the canker.
IGP David Asante-Apeatu urged all CSOs to also give the Service the needed support to fight party militia groups.