Abraham Lincoln once defined democracy as, “Government for the people, by the people and of the people.”
In recent years, we as Ghanaians are faced with a difficult question of our democracy as the presence of political vigilantism threatens our rule of law.
Rule of law can be defined as the supremacy of the law were no one including the government is above the law and as such accountable under the law.
On the under hand, Political Vigilantism is an organized effort or attempt by a group of ordinary citizens to enforce norms and maintain law and order outside legitimate channels based on their political affiliations.
Political vigilantism is mostly done in a violent way to suppress or eradicate threat of their respective parties.
Some vigilante groups feel that they are Revolutionaries, who aim at fighting for their interest because the people in power do not take their interest into consideration.
Many people, especially Political Vigilantes tend to believe that because democracy is for the people they as a people have a right to enforce their democratic rights and freedoms.
However, people neglect to regard that the activities and operations of political vigilantes is a threat to democracy and therefore the rule of law as it states that no one is above the law.
An example of such was when a vigilante group known as Delta Force in October 2017 caused chaos by raiding a court and freeing their members standing trial for invading the Ashanti Regional Coordinator as well as attacking their coordinator.
To the surprise of many Ghanaians, the people involved in this gruesome act were only meted with a fine even though their offence threatened the principle of Rule of Law by undermining law of the state.
The members of Delta Force were fined with Ghc 1,800 each and made go sign a bond of good behaviour as the State claimed there was not enough evidence to prosecute the offenders.
This act of vigilantism continues to impede on the Rule of Law and how it affects the country’s democracy.
The upsurge in many other Political Vigilantism groups which include Invincible Forces, Bamba Boys and Nima boys gives rise to the question if the Supremacy of the Law is at work.
It makes most Ghanaians wonder if they are safe and if everyone is accountable to the law irrespective of who they are.
Though the government has made it known about their stance on vigilantism not much has been done in place to curb this act.
The Rule of Law is important to this country because without it the country is lawless; a lawless country is a chaotic country.
The presence of Political Vigilantism in the county therefore hinders the importance of the Rule of Law and can render the country a messy one.
We as a people must come together and ensure that the government considers Political Vigilantism a threat to our country and as such make sure that people involved in such acts face the full wrath of the law.
Also, the Police service must be well equipped and free from political association in order to do their work well and fight against Political Vigilantism.
If we are able to do this, it would be for the betterment of our country as well as bring about law and order to our democratic country.
By; Deborah Asuma