By Edmund Mingle
The activities of political vigilante groups in Ghana have recently assumed an alarming proportion, with security experts describing it as a threat to national security.
In spite of concerns raised by various stakeholder groups, lately the National Commission on Civic Education (NCCE), as well as efforts by the Police to disband or ban political party vigilantism, the groups, mostly associated with a ruling party, continue to operate violently.
The NCCE, in its latest admonition against political vigilantism in Ghana, described it a “national crisis” requiring “urgent solution.”
While the police attempt to stop these groups, the political parties claim they cannot disband the groups because they were not set up the parties, and therefore are not officially recognised.
These vigilante groups often take actions to protect their interests which they consider to have been ignored by their political leaders.
“Banning” vigilante groupings may not yield the desired results because political research shows that aggrieved political youths would always take measures they deem fit once their grievances are continually ignored.
The hike in political vigilantism perhaps offers a clarion call to political parties to consider employing Mediation to resolve disputes and the grievances of the various groups, particularly youth factions.
Currently, the political party leaders find ways of brokering peace after the vigilante groups have taken violent and unlawful actions, with some of the cases withdrawn from the police for settlement.
But such energy can rather be directed at mediating the disputes at an early stage, as a preventive measure, to stop the grievances from festering and exploding in violent actions.
An adoption of political mediation by the parties would ensure that disputes, especially relating to the differences in interests of vigilante groups and the party structure, are effectively mediated for amicable resolutions.
Must Read:Mediation awaits Menzgold, BoG/SEC
In that regard, political parties in Ghana need education on mediation to enable them appreciate its essence in ensuring peace and harmony in political parties.
It is also suggested that political parties set up mediation units in their district and regional offices, and devote resources to have selected members to train as professional mediators to help in settling disputes in the respective parties.
Without mediation, the menace of political vigilantism would continue to flourish, with its attendant threats and cost.