Zongo Vigilante Groups Schooled On Roles And Limitations
A one day sensitization program on the need for the youth especially vigilante groups within the Zongos to be law abiding has been organized.
The program organized by the Friends Society, a non-for profit organization, was used to cautioned the various community vigilante groups within the Nima, Mamobi and Accra Newtown areas to not take the laws into their own hands
Addressing the gathering, Hajia Mariama Mohammed, a Human Rights activist cautioned the youth to always report issues of criminality and illegalities to the law enforcement agencies. ‘’You must learn to work and take actions within the confines of the laws of Ghana ‘’
She said the law enforcement agencies such as the Police, Narcotics Control Board [NACOB] and Prison Service amongst others are more equipped and experienced to deal with such issues professionally than the community vigilante groups.
She lauded the efforts been made by the vigilante groups within the Zongos but was quick to add that they should not take the laws into their own hands by punishing culprits their own ways.
She said the vigilante groups have succeeded in bringing sanity within the Zongos as their efforts has led to decrease in armed robbery, theft and indiscriminate fighting between rival groups , which has grappled the Zongo Communities of late.
Another great success chalked by the vigilante groups particularly the Safety Empire Vigilante is the rapid reduction in cases of homosexuality especially within the Nima-441 enclave, a phenomenon which has grappled the community off late, she mentioned.
She said the Zongo Youth has off late been engaged in homosexuality activities but the coming into been of these vigilante group has helped in bringing the canker into check. She lauded ‘’ The Safety Empire’’ vigilante watchdog group for their efforts in the fight to rid the community of gays and lesbians.
The Human Rights activist noted that ‘’The Safety `Empire’’ `group even though notorious in nature was able to quench the fire of gay and lesbian practice within the Nima, -441 and Mamaobi environs. She cited her elder brother by name Hedil Mohammed as an example of those practicing homosexuality who was flushed out by the vigilante group.
Hajia Mariam admitted that her brother who happened to be a youth Chief was caught red handedly having same sex intercourse with his partner in the palace . She said this incident which brought shame to our family forced my brother to flee the community and subsequently flee Ghana at large
Hedil Mohammed and others who flee Ghana I believe did not flee the community or Ghana at large because of the shame and disgrace brought by their actions but because of the fear for their lives.
‘’They flee because they knew that they wouldn’t be taken to the police for the necessary or required actions but would be subjected to certain inhumane and severe punishments which is against the laws of the country’’.
She condemned the notion that the homosexuals within the Zongo communities have the backing of their family members or influential persons. She said ‘’ I am not sure that is the case because my family does not support gay practice and we do not even know he was involved with gays until that faithful day in May 2014 when he was caught’’.
Even though I praised the Safety Empire for their roles in flushing out and exposing homosexual activists in the Zongos such as Hedil Mohammed my brother, I also blamed them for the injustice action they met out to these homosexuals when caught.
She said the best thing they should have done was to hand them over to the Police since homosexuality is illegal in Ghana. The Police would have been the best agency to deal with these gays and lesbians.
She bemoaned the situation where most of these homosexuals were beaten mercilessly with some sustaining various degrees of injuries and to add insult to injury she added ‘’these punishments were video recorded and posted on social media platforms such as facebook and whatsapp’’.
The only excuse given by the vigilante group for taken such actions is that the gays and lesbians are disgracing Islam , the community and Ghana at large.’’ It is true that Islam and Ghana frowned upon gay and lesbian practice but this is not the right way to handle such issues’’ she stressed.
‘’ If you ask the rationale behind the video recording and posting of these inhumane torture and treatments on social media, the only answer they can give you is we want to expose them to the whole world for the shame they have brought to our community’’, she noted.
She further encouraged Muslim youth to take their education seriously in order to liberate themselves and contribute their quota to the socio-economic development of Ghana. The Muslim youth has a key role to play in the development of his community and Ghana at large and that this can only be achieved when the youth are well educated.
The Human Right Activist also tasked Safety Empire and others to extend the fight to counter other illegal activities such as drug peddling and smoking which has now gain roots amongst the up and coming youth within the Zongo Communities
It is a pity when u will find our young and productive ones taken to the smoking and inhaling of illegal drugs such as Indian hemp, cocaine, and alcohol drinking. The future wouldn’t be bright for us if we look unconcerned. I therefore charge you to extend the fight to counter these menaces in the communities’’.
Hajia Mariama Mohammed further called on the Chiefs and Muslim opinion leaders to continue to play their roles well and effectively as the mouthpiece of their subjects so as to help them become good ambassadors of the Zongo communities.
‘’ We must learn to live and co-exist peacefully with followers of other religions `such as Christians and traditional practitioners to develop our respective communities. We all worship the same Supreme Being and as such there is no need to be fighting or creating tensions amongst ourselves’’.
She commended the organizers of the event for creating a platform that has brought together the various youth groups, chiefs, opinion leaders, clergy and politicians within the Zongos to brainstorm on how best to tackle injustice within the Nima, 441 , Mamobi and the Accra New-town environs.
She urged them not stop from here but to extend the sensitization program to other parts of the country where vigilante groups are vibrant to help educate them on their roles and limitations as a watchdog group.
In his response, Mr. Sulley Fuseini, speaking on behalf of the vigilante groups described the platform created for them to dialogue with opinion leaders and academia as laudable. He promised that the community watchdog groups will from henceforth try their best to work within the confines of the laws of the country.
He said even though the homosexual practitioners are disgracing and bringing shame to the community, we will not take the laws into our own hands anymore. We shall report and handover over anyone caught or suspected to be a gay or lesbian to the appropriate agency for the necessary action.
Mr. Sulley Fuseini who doubles as the Founder of ‘’The Safety Empire’’ Group, disclosed that plans are also far advanced to extend their activities to the fight against illicit drug smoking and peddling within their areas of jurisdiction to ensure a bright future for the younger ones.
Other speakers also took turns to advice the youth on the need to always abide by the laws of Ghana so as to always ensure peace and stability in their respective communities and Ghana at large.
The program which was held under the theme: Our Communities, Our Watchdog Groups, Our Roles And Limitations: was chaired by Alhaji Sumaila Ali, an opinion leader.