Reverend Johnson Avuletey, the Deputy Volta Regional Minister, has asked political party leaders to provide copies of the Vigilantism Act to their members to guide them going forward into the general elections.
He said the Vigilantism and related offences ACT 999 of 2019, which disbanded all 26 vigilante groups, outlined various sanctions, including jail terms of between 10 to 15 years for people who contravened the law.
Rev Avuletey said these during the opening of a two-day advocacy workshop on “Code of Conduct and Roadmap for the Eradication of Vigilantism” in Ho.
It was organised by the Volta Regional Secretariat of National Peace Council (VRPC) and attended by political party representatives, state institutions, faith-based organisations, civil society and the media.
The workshop is aimed at addressing the thorny issue of vigilantism, which has become protracted and casting a slur on the country’s democratic image.
He said the vigilante law was more relevant in view of the 2020 election and asked political parties to make it a topical issue.
He said security agencies were appropriately positioned to deal with any act of violence from any political party or group of persons.
The Deputy Minister said only the security services were mandated by law to provide security at polling stations, when national electoral activities were being carried out.
He said citizens’ duty was to support the security services to perform their duties professionally to guard the peaceful conduct of the election without fear of intimidation or harm.
Rev Avuletey urged the NPC to continue to discharge its mandate and expressed the hope that the workshop would fashion a road map for the region in adhering to the provisions of ACT 999 for peaceful election.
Rev Seth Mawutor, the Chairman, VRPC said the National Peace Council was on track in executing its mandate and was not doing the bidding of any political party.
He said the NPC’s did not depend on ‘hear-say’ in the performance of its duties but investigate issues thoroughly before taking a stance in the interest of peace and national cohesion.
Mr David Normanyo, Regional Executive-Secretary, said the Council was established by the NPC ACT 818 of 2011 and mandated to prevent, manage and resolve conflicts for sustainable peace in the country.
He said political parties should reject all forms of violence as a form of political expression and avoid over-excessively defending their members who violated laws.
He urged the Police administration to be firm to prosecute errant actors in the political fray.