The special representative of the United Nations (UN) Secretary General for West Africa and the Sahel, Mohammed Ibn Chambas, has called on political parties to dissociate themselves from ‘unregulated’ security groups ahead of the elections in November.
According to him, the groups could pose a threat to the country’s security and compromise the efforts of the various security agencies ahead of the polls.
He urged the parties to sever all ties with the ‘vigilante’ groups and defer to the appropriate security agencies when they have any issues.
“I wish to seize this opportunity to appeal to the political parties to show leadership and expunge from their structures, as well as dissociate completely from such groups in support of their formations,” a statement from Dr. Ibn Chambas said.
“We acknowledge that these groups are likely to stir a political climate of intolerance and violence that cannot be conducive and helpful in the preparations towards the impending elections.”
The political parties have been criticised for their failure to disband or condemn vigilante groups associated with them.
Two of these groups, Kandahar boys, Bolga Bulldogs and Azorka boys, have often been involved in violent clashes, with several calls made by the public for them to be disbanded.
The political parties had agreed to eschew violence and dissociate themselves from “vigilante groups” and their activities in a two-page communiqué issued at the end of a two-day forum on armed violence in elections in Ada, organised by the Small Arms Commission and the Ghana Police.
“We shall not employ the services of militant pressure groups at any time before, during and after the 2016 general elections. Political Parties commit to exposing any undesirable elements within our ranks and hand them over to the authorities,” the communiqué said.
Dr. Ibn Chambas asked the various parties and Ghanaians to take advantage of the systems available to them to ensure peace in the country as the elections draw closer.
“Political parties have a responsibility to safeguard the stability and unity of the country and therefore should campaign in a peaceful manner.
“I urge all national stakeholders, and especially the political parties and their supporters, to make use of the valuable existing mechanisms for dialogue and dispute resolution to bridge their differences and minimize the potential for violence.”