Armed Crime in Ghana – A Tale of Two Tales
Armed Robbery is not new news in Ghana. Ghana has been long ridden by vigilante groups and the smuggling of small firearms happens on a daily basis even if it is illegal. This is a big issue and it happens in almost all of West Africa. Local blacksmiths reportedly manufacture over 200,000 guns each year and so it’s quite the business around here. Due to such a large volume of productions and supply of guns around these parts, one can simply buy a gun for as low as $8 or $9. This means anyone from anywhere in West Africa can purchase a gun whether it is legal to do so is another thing. Armed crime in Ghana started rising considerably in recent years. Even though Ghana shows overall better regional stability, economic growth, and demographic governance than the other parts, it still shows signs of political tension. This means anyone with political affiliations can interfere with anything.
In recent times, many people with political affiliations or politicians have directly interfered with Ghana Police Force on who needs to be arrested or investigated. This created an all-time low opinion of the Ghana Police Administration in the eyes of the public. On top of that, the vigilante groups are another hassle that citizens of Ghana have to go through that. Due to the radical politicization of the Ghana Police Administration, it resulted in a massive negative opinion towards them and soon other political parties started forming their groups of political vigilantes with the aim of taking matters into their hands since the police aren’t really doing anything. Now, this goes for National Patriotic Party, the current government, and National Democratic Congress, their largest opposition party. This has led to the biggest unrest in the country and it could turn out to be the biggest threat to the country’s democratic process. The police can’t really do anything about it as they are under a tremendous amount of political pressure and such vigilante groups have more arms and gears than the traditional police force.
They have guns, armor, and far better resources than the police. But such vigilante groups aren’t completely new to Ghana. In fact, they have existed since 1951, when democratic elections were held for the first time and they were there at the 2016 elections as well. The reason people know them so well is that they were very hostile and brandished their guns to instill fear into the people. Such extreme exercises from these vigilante groups meant only one thing that they are ‘in charge’ and we should do as they say. A report just came in that says armed robbers return the money back to its owner after the owners threatened them with the invocation of deities within 3 days. As the robbers snatched the money bags, the owner threatened them with dire consequences and is willing to invocate the gods. Fearing the might of gods, they decided to return the money and left the bag full of money in front of their doorsteps. The police even went to the victim’s place to ensure no one harm will ever come his way. They also confirmed that the money is being returned but when the reporters asked them about eight deities thingy, they denied it.They said they were there to help people protect their lives and their property instead of running after a wild goose chase.
While these groups were brought to power by political parties to help find justice for people who get ignored by the people, but it is easy to lose sight and that’s exactly what happened with each of these groups. While their original mission was to enact justice to those who escaped from it through their politics, they ended up becoming the same people who they were supposed to punish. Money and power can be powerful forces and that much money can easily corrupt people. Now, these groups brandish weapons in the public and willing to hurt anyone who stands in their way. As time passed by, these groups simply detached themselves from the political affiliations and became their own boss. What once protected the citizens, now hunts the very same citizens. There doesn’t seem to be any way to stop. Unless the government decides to step in, these things will continue to happen but it seems the government has finally decided that it was time to pass the bill for the prohibition of violence under the newly enacted Vigilantism and Related Offences Act.