The Ummah at Crossroads; Biting into Hot Potato? Perspective of a Zango Youth

By: Fatimatu Abubakar White |Student of Ghana Institute of Journalism

Mother Ghana is violently pregnable. We’re recklessly treading on dangerous grounds. The manifestations of vigilantism in Ghana could birth before, during and/or after elections. Certainly, it’s now part and parcel of our political party ideology. These private militias pose a threat to our democracy. Vigilantism can be a conveyor belt for violent extremism in the country. They undermine the capacity of the security services in safeguarding both lives and property of Ghanaians.

It is common knowledge that a fraction if not a majority of these vigilante groups like Invincible Forces, Delta Force, Mahama Boys, Azorka Boys, Bolga Bulldogs and Western Crocodiles are Muslims. It is rather unfortunate and a dent on our image to hear the name of a Muslim each time a vigilante group causes social unrest. For the purpose of this article, let’s reiterate our steps back to Islam’s stance on violence and Rule of Law. Islam means peace and submission to Allah and maintaining a peaceful coexistence with people. In no way does the Qur’an nor Hadith legitimise violence. On the other hand, Rule of Law simply means, no one is above the law, not even the government. That is to say, it is an autonomous legal order whereby the authority does not depend on the law but instead, on the law’s degree of autonomy. Rule of Law sets to accomplish and cover three aspects in the affairs of a state. Firstly, the Rule of Law serves as a regulator of government power. This means, it limits arbitrariness and ensures the government is more rationale in policymaking. Secondly, Rule of Law promotes equality before the law. That is, everyone, no matter the creed or condition is subjected to the ordinary law of the land for incurring any legal liability. Last but not least, the Rule of Law is implying procedural justice. By this, the laws must be fair, publicized and known and transparently applied to all and sundry. Indeed, it is also common knowledge that political parties whether overtly or covertly support, sponsor and fund vigilante groups. In order for opposition parties not to feel victimized for some level of brutality meted out on their party members. These party foot soldiers are incited to retaliate such attacks. We forget that violence should not beget violence. Mainstream politics is becoming a dirtier day in, day out. When this feud escalates, it’ll be at the detriment of the peace and stability of our beloved nation. Hooligans of different shades (Muslims inclusive) have tied the hands of politicians. They wine and dine with political big wigs. Hence, they can’t be called to order nor are their conducts, regulated by their affiliated political parties. While these scandals are committed, right under the noses of the upper echelons of these parties in broad daylight. These militias believe that the public office holders are wealthy because they control our resources and the public purse. Thus, they ensure they come to power in other to have a piece of the national cake. Oh! you politician, Ghana belongs to all of us. We have nowhere to run to because this is home. Out rightly condemn these barbarous acts. Do not twist the hands of law enforcement agencies for the pleasure of your party supporters. All in the name of securing votes. Punitive measures need to be put in place to curtail such misdeeds.

Under the 1992 Constitution of the Republic of Ghana, Article 21 guarantees the freedom of association. However, the Private Security Organisations Regulation should monitor these hooligans of an association and ensure compliance of the regulations. Possession of firearms and ammunition by these groups is undoubtedly against the very code of their mother body. The security services should be retooled and without doing the bidding of any political party are allowed to perform their statutory mandate in clamping down this menace. Let’s not grope in the dark any further; do we need the United Nations Security Council to tell us idle hands are the devil’s workshop? Unemployment can drive even educated persons to violent extremism. Vigilante group members can be screened to identify their potentials. They can be enrolled by the National Security Services. For crying out loud, they’re private militias, they can be useful in clamping down “galamsey” menace. These abled men can be assisted to channel their energy and skills to agro-business and accomplished entrepreneurs. For them not to visit their hunger and anger on poor but innocent citizens, it’s best to harness the potentials of vigilante groups for the development of Mother Ghana. For Rule of Law to be respected, the nation must vent their spleen and question the Status quo to restore sanity in the country. Without doubt, the entire proceedings of vigilante groups from its conception leave little to be desired. The stance of His Excellency, Nana Akuffo-Addo is commendable, howbeit, NPP and NDC are playing mind games with our peace. Although the Ministry of Inner-Cities and Zongo Development is embarking on tremendous projects in job creation, the Muslim leadership should step-up their game in enlightening and creating jobs for Zango youth. Amilcar Cabral, the Guinea Revolutionist wrote in 1965: “Always bear in mind that the people are not fighting for ideas, for the things in anyone’s head. They are fighting to win material benefits, to live better and in peace, to see their lives go forward, to guarantee the future of their children…” This asserts the need to create jobs to raise our standards of living. In reference to Ronald Reagan’s saying, “Peace is not the absence of conflict; it is the ability to handle conflict by peaceful means”. Hence, peace is a shared responsibility that requires the commitment of all stakeholders with the spirit and actions that are supportive of peaceful coexistence.

Source: Abubakar White