Interior Minister-designate rejects vigilante group clampdown

Former Deputy Attorney General and Minister-designate for Interior is cautious about calling for the clamping down vigilante groups with political leaning.

Ambrose Dery said individuals who break the law must be dealt with as stipulated in the law books of the country irrespective of their party of affiliation.

Answering questions former Education Minister, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, about vigilante groups during his vetting by Parliament’s appointment Committee, Saturday, he said groups must not be held accountable for offences committed by individuals.

“For me to take such a decision [ordering the disbandment of vigilante groups], I must be convinced that those groups are responsible for these activities [partisan-related violence].

“I have also said there is no vicarious liability for criminal offences. I am not aware that it is political party vigilantes that are doing so,” he noted.

A senior research fellow at the Legon Center for International Affairs and Diplomacy (LECIAD) advised prior to the December 7 elections that the National Security must monitor the activities of various vigilante groups in the country. 

Dr Philip Attuquayefio notes that activities of these vigilante groups constitute a major threat to national security.

He said if they are not monitored and regulated, they could get out of control.

“These vigilante groups actions are completely out of our laws,” he said urging national security to clamp down on their activities to protect Ghanaians.

Earlier, the Inspector General of Police (IGP) John Kudalor hinted of plans to disband vigilante groups aligned to some political parties ahead of the general elections this year.

According to him, the Police service engaged the Attorney General’s Office to determine the locus of these groups.

But Mr Dery believed that cases of such groups should be considered on individual basis and does not merit dissolving. 

“All must be condemned and not be countenanced, however, handling of each complaint must be professionally pursued in that, you are a suspect, investigations conducted, rights are respected and people who deserve to be prosecuted will be prosecuted,” he noted.

According to him, Article 41 of the Constitution gives citizens the obligation to cooperate with security agencies adding “it also gives citizens the duties to protect public property and what have you. Indeed, when it comes to the misuse of funds it even uses combat.”

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