Mrs Lucille Hewletts Annan, Greater Accra Regional Director of the National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE) has urged the youth not to join vigilante activities as doing so could land them in jail up to 15 years.
Mrs Annan was speaking at a day’s workshop for members of the Ashaiman Inter-Party Dialogue Community (IPDC) on an NCCE/National Security Project on National Cohesion and Inclusive Participation Governance.
She said the Vigilantism and Related Offences Act 999 which was enacted after the Ayawaso West Wuogon’s by-election violence in 2019 made it an offence to be a member of any vigilante groups.
She added that with the enactment of the Act all vigilante groupings were banned in Ghana saying anyone found to have formed such a group was liable to 10 to 15 years imprisonment.
She added that any political party that formed a vigilante group would be fined while its leadership would also be jailed.
She said the law also found it as an offence to fund the activities of vigilante groups and anyone found liable to that would also serve between 10 and 15 years in jail in accordance with the Act.
Mrs Annan said anyone convicted of acts of vigilantism was barred by the law from participating in any political activity for 10 years and it was not worthy for the youth to follow such groupings.
“The youth must know that it is not worth fighting for any political party, you will end up wasting your youth,” she said.
Commenting on a movie that was showed to participants to raise their consciousness on the repercussions of fanning violence and conflicts, she reminded the public especially political party faithful that they were first Ghanaians before joining their respective parties.
She added that it was unfortunate and worrying that in their bid to win power, politicians could say and do all manner of things that could lead to violence.
She also advised the media against taking sides and creating tensions through their reportage and programmes reminding them that the Rwandan genocide was sparked by some comments from a journalist.
Ms Josephine Nkrumah, NCCE Chairperson on her part said the Commission would be streamlining its programmes to fuse in Ghanaian values teaching to ensure that children and the youth belonged to the country.
She said their programmes including; constitutional week, citizenship week, democracy lecture, social auditing programmes, civic education clubs and dialogue series would be anchored in values to handle indiscipline, corruption and many other vices among the youth.
She said failure on the part of stakeholders to guide the youth now would mean, they would grow thinking that they could use violence and dubious ways to get whatever they decided to have without considering the consequences.
“We need to make time for our youth, responsible adults are carefully nurtured from childhood they don’t happen by chance, don’t think paying school fees and providing three-square meals is enough.”
Ms Gifty Agyeiwaa Badu, Ashaiman Municipal Director of the NCCE, welcoming participants to the workshop said the Inter Party Dialogue Committee was formed by the Commission as a result of the tension that arose in the 2008 elections, and therefore it deemed it necessary to form a committee similar to that of the IPAC to resolve issues that might trigger the peace of the country.
Ms Badu added that the IPDC’s engagements were also used to calm tensions during the 2012 elections saying it was also aimed at deepening existing collaborations between the NCCE, EC, Political Parties, Youth, Security Agencies, District Assemblies, Traditional Leaders, Media among others.
Superintendent Osman Alhassan, Ashaiman District Police Commander on the Public Order Act, and Community Surveillance said although it was the mandate of security personnel to mount surveillance in communities, residents must see policing as a shared responsibility and augment the work of the officers.
He said residents could observe their vicinity and be each other’s keeper by reporting suspicious characters to the police.
He also urged the public to fortify their doors especially their kitchen doors as research indicated that most armed robbers used that as entry to attack.