A project aimed at improving peace and security in the election value chain and ensure the elimination of violent conducts by politically sponsored groups before, during and after the upcoming general election, has been launched in Accra.
Spearheaded by Caritas Ghana, a charity organisation of the Ghana Catholic Bishops’ Conference, the project is on the theme "Ethics Against Vigilantism" and is funded by the Star Ghana Foundation.
It is also supported by seven other organisations, comprising the National Peace Council, Office of the National Chief Imam, the Ghana Pentecostal and Charismatic Council, the Catholic Bishops’ Conference and the Ahmadiyya Muslims Mission.
The rest are the Federation of Muslim Women's Association and the Marshallan Relief and Development Services, the non-governmental organisation of the Knights and Ladies of Marshall.
The project will span a period of 18 months and it will cover six regions, namely Greater Accra, Northern, North-East, Savannah, Upper East and Upper West regions.
The regions were selected based on the off-spot report Caritas Ghana received from some experts.
Other objectives of the project, according to the Head of Programmes at Caritas Ghana, Mr David Issaka, included building the capacity of vulnerable groups including women, the disabled and children to take active part in the electioneering process.
Again, Mr Issaka mentioned the facilitation of dialogue between religious leaders and political parties, as well as support for ex-vigilante members to overcome violent tendencies through psycho-social counselling, as some of the reasoning behind the initiative.
He said the project would collaborate with the National Youth Authority to provide cash-for-work opportunities to the vulnerable youth in the country in order to save them from being exploited by politicians.
Threat to peace
The spokesperson of the National Chief Imam, Sheikh Armiyawo Shaibu, said the vigilantism menace posed a serious threat to Ghana's peace and democracy and for that matter, all peace-loving citizens ought to come on board to eradicate it.
"Vigilantism is a destabilising factor to our thriving democracy and to allow it to continue to become a subculture of our political engagement is to compromise the peace of our country", he said.
In that regard, he said, "we must fight it with all the might at our disposal and ensure that our young people in this country will be treated with respect and not be reduced from the top of their humanity to become tools for visiting violence against political opponents".
He added that faith-based organisations were noted for advocating peaceful co-existence and that it would be contradictory on their part to sit aloof and watch the vigilantism menace destroy the country.
The Executive Secretary of Caritas Ghana, Mr Samuel Zan Akologo, for his part, said the Ethics against Vigilantism Project, signified yet another ground-breaking undertaking by the faith-based groups working together to sanitise the country's political environment and ensure inclusion of all citizens in the process.
Source: Daily Graphic
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