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21 April 2017 | Opinion/Feature

Distrust And vigilantism killing Ghana’s Democracy

Munir Saani
File Photo
File Photo

Safe Democracy Ghana is baffled to the core and wondered the nursing of and the existence of posse under our democratic dispensation with a fashionable term described as vigilantes. Safe Democracy Ghana cannot think far the term vigilantes accorded to brute organizations of a sort who defied law and order to orchestrate mayhem because a political party they support has the President and majority members of parliament.

It is shameful, disgraceful and disdainful the actions of National Democratic Party and New Patriotic Party to accept to raise and nurse morbid mobs and accord them mafia training to serve as volunteers or foot soldiers to counter their adversaries of the other political parties or torment and harass people who do not share the same political views with them.

Any political party that mistrust state institutions for protection of whatever kind, or desires the services of security operatives for protection can reverse to hire Private Security Companies in Ghana which would make needless the services of adventurous job seekers who get in with an intent of giving security to candidates in return for job or send giddy threat to the Political party in power of their zeal to campaign against it come next election.

Invincible forces, Azorka boys, Delta force and whatever other forces we may generate to protect the interest of political parties in the form of armed posse cannot be referred to as vigilante groups. Their description best fit “Mafia” because vigilantes enforces established laws that are not obeyed whereas mafia clandestinely break laws “No force can be raised in Ghana without parliamentary approval” (Article 210.2-1992 Constitution).These interest macho groups may indecently fit in to the description of Article 55.3 of the 1992 Constitution that provisioned that “political party shall sponsor candidates to public office” and for their sponsorship, they volunteer to serve as gendarmeries of candidates who have won to become candidates to contest public elections. This is totally against Representative of the People Law 1992 created by the legislature made up of members of NDC and NPPs.

It is shame laws created by our Honourable Members of Parliament are undermined and abused by the very political parties they belong to. It is unthinkable some Members of Honourable House admit and condone the existence of these lawless organizations that create for themselves the authority, capacity and powers to sanction an elected government of their own political party to accept to change the destiny of Ghana as a result of phony promissory of jobs we have entered into with them, noting that public cooperation and state institutions are regulated by law among which are employment and dismissal laws under the Ghana labour law.

Both NDC and NPP have been in the minority before. They know the level of insecurity they experience as leading opposition party contesting the incumbent government but they incessantly ignored or failed to recognize the potency of re-regulating security services of Ghana such that they all shall bore confidence in them whilst in government, off government or being private citizens.

The level of distrust between the New Patriotic Parties and National Democratic Congress is alarming and it has reach its zenith for which all Civil Society Organizations must join hands with Safe Democracy Ghana to call to order our Presidents to abide by the Constitution that they have sworn to protect and defend.

They must follow laid down constitutional provisions in appointing their heads of civil and public servants especially heads of our security agencies whose appointments requires due diligence and conformity to the dictates of the Constitution that “the power to appoint persons to hold or to act in an office in the public services shall vest in the President, acting in accordance with the advice of the governing council of the service concerned given in consultation with the Public Services Commission” Article 195 (1992 Constitution)

“Acting in accordance with the advice of the governing council” is very paramount in the language of framers of the 1992 Constitution and it must not be misconstrued to mean or to have the same value with “in consultation with”. If our heads of governments refused to conform to the dictates of the Constitution in this regard, it is abuse of office and mortification of state institutions and the Constitution of Ghana for which they have sworn to protect. They cannot handpick among the senior officers to serve as such without the authority of the governing councils. “Acting in accordance with the advice of the governing council” must be respected and our Presidents must act accordingly such that, the spirit of the constitution shall be enforceable to the benefit of the nation for progress, security, peace and stability.

If we refuse to acknowledge the error we have created so long with respect to appointing persons to such senior positions per Article 195, then there is a total need to create a Second Chamber Parliament as soon as possible to serve as a countervailing authority to the position of the Executive of which the Parliament of Ghana is made a very composite one by virtue of Article 78.1 of the 1992 Constitution.

The misconception of or our total refusal to abide by Article 195 of the Constitution 1992 have crippled our democracy and until such remedies are put in place, we should rest assured our democracy has failed halfway and the dander shall follow suit.

The Constitution of Ghana under which both the NDC and NPP have sworn to protect as Presidents and as Members of Parliament scorn tersely on public grouping without permission let alone public grouping with force of might to enforce actions contrary to the established laws of Ghana.

The use of built body persons (macho men) and the use of might in democracy are incongruous to democratic principles, insult to the electorates and disgrace to the candidates seeking elections. It sends signals to indicate weaknesses in the use of power of reasoning, common sense, dialogue, negotiations and ideas which are fundamental ethos of progressive multiparty democracy.

Lacking the nerves to withstand a debate, exchange of views and to oppose without maligning or inflicting pain and injury to the opponent are standard requirements in democratic rule and enhances democratic qualities.

Before the coming of Colonialist in Ghana, the culture of freedom of expression and exchange of ideas was borne of most of the Ghanaian culture. We never would want to loss it now or forever loss it.

“The members of a traditional council allowed discussions, a free and frank expression of opinions, and if there was disagreement, they spent hours, even days if necessary, to argue and exchange ideas till they reached unanimity. Those who disagreed were not denied a hearing, or locked up in prison, or branded as enemies of the community. The traditional practice indicated that the minority must be heard, and with respect and not hostility. Busia K.A. Busia, Africa in Search of Democracy (London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1967) at 28.

Ghana does not need sacrificial volunteers in the form of armed groups to defend candidates that desire to contest seats in the district Assembly, Parliament of Ghana or the Presidency of the Republic of Ghana.

Munir Saani
Executive Secretary
Safe Democracy Ghana

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