[ON GHANA’S SERIOUS POLITICAL VIGILANTE PROBLEM]
“Vigilantism is when people ‘take the law into their own hands’ in order to protect or advance their interests.
In this way, all vigilantism is political because it always involves the use of (illegal) power against others who are perceived to be a threat to those interests.
However, when we speak of ‘political vigilantism’ we mean specifically the use of vigilantes in the name of partisan politics.
In Ghana, political parties – whether in government or the opposition – are known to form and use vigilante groups who then act on their behalf.”
“……. These vigilante groups are often violent, target opposition groups and public officials, and seize property or assets.
But vigilantes aren’t just thugs who operate at the street level.
…….. what I call ‘vigilantes-in-suits’ (are)……people in positions of authority – for example, policy makers, lawmakers and various political appointees – who will pursue their party’s interests by any means.
Political vigilantism often involves violence, both physical and psychological.”
“…..Ghana’s two main political parties recruit, train and fund vigilantes.
These are young people who feel that the state doesn’t represent their interests…. vulnerable to indoctrination by older generations – largely politicians – who give the young recruits ideological direction and justification for their actions.”
“Vigilantism has also flourished because of a lack of deterrence.
…….Longer-term strategies must address the issues of unemployment and Ghana’s deeply unequal society.
…….Tackling inequality also means more decisive action against corruption, which is widespread and vicious.”