General News of Sunday, 14 April 2019
The Minister of Works and Housing, Samuel Atta Akyea has acknowledged the Vigilantism and Related Offences Bill before Parliament, but reiterated that it is the enforcement of laws that will end vigilantism not just the laws in themselves.
He admonished the security agencies to rise above political pandering and enforce the laws regardless of who was involved saying, “Do not enforce the law with favouritism because lawlessness should not be encouraged.”
The 10-clause bill before Parliament sought to “disband political party vigilante groups and proscribe acts of vigilantism in the country, failure to comply with the requirements of the bill is punishable by a term of imprisonment of not less than five years and not more than fifteen years,” the Preamble to the bill read.
The January 2019 by-election in Ayawaso, which was marred by violence set in motion series of executive actions which were meant to put to rest, political violence and the Emile Short Commission tasked to investigate the violence had submitted its report.
Equally, the two leading political parties, the New Patriotic Party (NPP) and the National Democratic Congress (NDC), are currently in a dialogue being moderated by the National Peace Council to voluntarily disband party vigilante groups loyal to them following a directive by the president, perhaps the final push to completely bury political vigilantism.
While welcoming the law, Mr Atta Akyea asserted that it would require a law enforcement agency that is professional and fearless in its fight against crime and
dissented on the excuse that security agencies fail to deliver because they lacked security of tenure, relied on to abdicate responsibility.
“Whether you have security of tenure or not, do not suspend your professionalism, even the politicians don’t have security of tenure. People must assert values in leadership and resign if it is being breached,” adding that “to the extent that professionals remain in office, they must not complain but give their professional best in every situation,” Mr Atta Akyea stressed.