The Head of Peace and Security Programme at the Kofi Annan International Peace Keeping Centre, Ernest Ansah Lartey has said that about 16 vigilante groups have been identified.
He said during the 2016 election, and beyond, they were the main cause of violence during the election process.
Ansah Lartey was speaking at a roundtable discussion on the role of the police in dealing with violence around Ghana’s elections.
He said that the vigilante groups are mainly deployed in areas which are strongholds of the major political parties and swing constituencies.
He stressed there was the need for earky advocacy against the use of vigilantes in the upcoming general elections.
“The threat is that there is a de-escalation when advocacy increases”, he added.
A representative of Coalition of Domestic Election Observers (CODEO), Nana Kwabena Aborampa Mensah, who also led a team around the country to monitor Voter’s registration exercise, noted that 20 separate violent incidents were recorded during the exercise.
He said such a situation might send wrong signals to the international community about the robustness of the country’s democratic credentials.
He also said that the causes of violent incidents ranged from allegation of people being bussed to registration centres to register.
A Senior State Prosecutor at the Attorney General’s Department, Hilda Kafui Craig, appealed to the Chief Justice to constitute special courts for the prosecution of election-related offences.
Agnes Melissa Yovo | Talksafrica.com