Caritas Ghana Leads Interfaith Initiative to Fight Vigilantism ahead of General Elections

Samuel Zan Akologo, Executive Secretary of Caritas Ghana.

In preparation for the 2020 General Elections in Ghana, Caritas Ghana has embarked on the process of bringing Faith-Based Organizations together to help avert violence and vigilantism before, during and after the planned December elections.

“For the 2020 General Elections, Caritas Ghana is facilitating an interfaith effort on the menace of vigilantism. Though outlawed, vigilantism remains a veiled force of threat to peace,” said Samuel Zan Akologo, Executive Secretary of Caritas Ghana.

Sharing how Caritas Ghana is preparing towards the peaceful elections devoid of violence by vigilante groups with ACI Africa Correspondent in Ghana, Mr. Akologo noted that the interfaith initiative dubbed “Educating, Training and Healing Individuals, Communities and Society (ETHICS) against Vigilantism in Ghana’s elections” is “perhaps a model to be considered and replicated.”

The Caritas Ghana official said that the charity and development arm of the Church in the West African country would be collaborating with the Marshallan Relief and Development Services, Federation of Muslim Women’s Associations in Ghana and the Office of the National Chief Imam as active players in this effort.

The other participating Faith-Based Organizations to be involved in the fight are the Christian Council of Ghana, Ghana Pentecostal and Charismatic Council, Ghana Catholic Bishops’ Conference through their National Catholic Secretariat and the Ahmadiyya Muslim Mission in Ghana, Mr. Akologo said.


“Thanks to STAR Ghana Foundation’s funding support, the initiative is addressing potential electoral violence through moral persuasion of youth by respectable religious leaders from diverse faith groups and providing cash-for-work for those who want to engage in decent work,” Mr. Akologo told ACI Africa correspondent Tuesday, August 4.    

“I am not unaware of the criminal justice road pursued in Ghana through the Vigilantism and Related Offences Act of 2019 (Act 999)” he further said, adding, “The National Peace Council has even buttressed this by drawing up a Charter of Behaviour for key actors of the political process towards elections.”

“We can insist that criminal breaches must be dealt with as such, according to law but what about a character ascribed to by mere goodwill?” he posed.

The Caritas Ghana Executive officer further called for “a new cultural orientation,” which, he said, focuses on family and educational etiquettes in a bid to avert electoral violence.

“We need a new cultural orientation, especially in the family and at school, that emphasizes loftier values and etiquette,” he said, and added, “We also need to imbibe a faith conviction that is not about Church and Mosque going, verbosity of prayer and incantations; but a practical faith in action in the social milieu.”

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In Mr. Akologo’s considered view, dealing with electoral violence “calls for an antidote to this psychological malady about power and leadership that has so terribly diseased our minds, hearts and attitudes.”

“Electoral violence perpetrated by members of opposing political parties or by some hired agents associated with thuggery, banditry and uncouth behavior is all part of this bigger issue of ambition and lust for power,” the Ghanaian Caritas official lamented.

The situation of electoral violence is further bolstered by the high number of unemployed youth in the West African nation, he said, underscoring the need for the government to facilitate the creation of jobs both in the public and private sector and to keep as many youths as possible away in training institutions.

“Prolonged schooling or training of a nation’s youth cadre is a very strategic investment which has long term benefits to the individual, family and the nation at large. In the short term, it can also reduce societal vices such as youth violence,” Mr. Akologo told ACI Africa correspondent.