Dr Emmanuel Kwesi Anning, Director of Academic Affairs and Research at the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping and Training Centre, has said manifestos of political parties should be made legally binding to ensure that they fulfil their promises.
He said experiences in the Fourth Republic have shown that political parties made wild unattainable promises just to woo people to vote for them, only for the parties to disappoint them by not fulfilling the promises.
He said such disappointment tended to breed the lawless acts (including vigilantism), committed by especially the youth when a new government assumes power because they want to find means of achieving their dreams.
Dr Anning made the call in Tamale on Thursday when delivering a lecture to mark the 15th anniversary of NORSAAC, a gender-based civil society organisation.
His topic was ‘Curbing Youth Vigilantism in Ghana: a Panacea for Sustainable Democracy’.
Since December last year when the New Patriotic Party (NPP) won power, about 21 incidents of youth violence, tagged as vigilante acts, in the form of chasing workers out of their offices and seizing public toilets, were committed across the country by youth groups aligned to the party, most of which went unpunished.
Dr Anning said in other jurisdictions, manifestos were considered legal documents, adding that such must apply to the country’s situation to assure the electorate that their leaders would deliver on their promises to help curb the lawlessness exhibited by the youth after a new government assumes power.
He said the rising youth population in the country and the lack of opportunities for them had security implications as disappointed youth were likely to engage in organised violence.
Dr Anning accused political leaders of acting in a self-contradictory manner, which encouraged youth lawlessness and hooliganism in the country.
He called on parents, community leaders and all stakeholders to be steadfast in identifying early warning signals and inculcate in their children values that would ensure a strong, coherent society.
Mr Samson Lardy Anyenini, a lawyer and broadcaster, said there was no vigilante group in the country, adding that what the country had been witnessing within the past 11 months since the NPP assumed power was a group of lawless people undertaking lawless acts.
He spoke on the topic ‘Youth Vigilantism and Selective Justice in Ghana: A Threat to National Security’.
Mr Anyenini said such acts should be treated as crimes and dealt with, adding the country was not at the point that warranted vigilantism.
He said political interference and punishment transfers were responsible for the inability of the law enforcement agencies to act, hence the lawless acts by the political party youth.
Mr Anyenini called on political party leaders to stop the hypocrisy in how they handled lawless acts by groups aligned to them, and rather deal with such acts, according to the law, to show that they were in charge of the affairs of the state.
Mr Alhassan Mohammed Awal, Executive Director of NORSAAC, said his organisation would continue to work to influence national policy for the development of the country.