Accra, Oct. 4, GNA – The Methodist Church Ghana on Sunday launched the “Methodist Youth against Vigilantism” group to commence a campaign to promote peace ahead of the December 7 general election.
The group was launched in Accra in collaboration with the Greater Accra Regional Peace Council and National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE).
It was charged to deliver peace messages at churches, communities, market places, social media platforms, and through musical concerts with the slogan: “Say No to Vigilantism, My Peace, Your Peace, Our Peace!”
The group, to begin its campaign, sketched a drama to send a word of caution to all youths to avoid vigilantism as it had repercussions in terms of health, psychological, and social and the sanctions involved.
The Right Reverend Samuel K. Osabutey, the Methodist Bishop of Accra, said humans differed in their principles, perceptions, religious beliefs and practices, and social inclusions among other things and it was required of all to accept each other to promote peace and development.
He said the Church found it necessary to sensitise the youth, who were likely to be lured into vigilantism while the nation prepared for the election, to avoid risking their lives and that of others.
Dr Afua Yakohene, a member of the Greater Accra Regional Peace Council, speaking on: “The Need for Peace,” said the youth must avoid polarisation and prioritise their future, families and Ghana before engaging in any form of violence to push the agenda of a political party.
“We are all different and unique and by pooling our strengths together, we can grow,” she added.
Dr Yakohene advised the public to engage in politics of dignity and avoid name calling, bearing in mind the ‘Principle of Double Effect,’ where they could be affected by their own actions.
She appealed to Ghanaians to adopt dialogue to settle all forms of misunderstanding, as dialogue gave an opportunity to explore the root causes of crisis and its resolution to promote acceptance, consensus building, peace, stability and unity.
Mr Henry Attoh Okai, the Executive Secretary of the Greater Accra Regional Peace Council, addressing the youth on the topic: “Vigilantism and Related Offences Act 999 (2019)”, explained that the Act came into force after violence erupted at the Ayawaso West Wuogon by-election in Accra.
Sections of the Act say that anyone found to be part of any act or threat of violence shall be liable on conviction to a term of imprisonment of not less than 15 years and not more than 25 years.
Such individuals shall also be banned from contesting a public or political party office until 10 years after serving their sentence among other prohibitions.
Mr Okai said the Party, which failed to comply with the sanctions shall have its chairman, general secretary, national organiser and treasurer liable to not less than 10,000 penalty units and not more than 25,000 penalty units.
They could also face a term of imprisonment of not less than 10 years and not more than 25 years.
Mrs Lucille Hewlett-Annan, the Greater Accra Regional Director of NCCE, who spoke on “Civic and Voter Education,” said voting was the civic duty of every eligible citizen and the only way to have a legitimate government to manage the affairs of the country was through elections.
She advised the youth to be agents of peace and sensitise their peers to join the fight against vigilantism.