The Ghana Journalists Association, GJA has declared war against political vigilantism and electoral violence as the nation prepares to go to the polls this year.
The Association said it will empower the media to constantly denounce political vigilantism and electoral violence and ensure that the practices are curtailed.
The President of the GJA Affail Monney declared this at the launch of GJA Election 2020 Project dubbed “No To Political Vigilantism And Electoral Violence in Ghana”.
The project funded by STAR-Ghana Foundation will be implemented across the country.
It will seek to sharpen the professional and ethical skills of journalists and media practitioners to enable them cover the 2020 elections adequately and help sustain peace and security before, during and after the polls.
The 2020 election project will draw on the recent legislation on political Vigilantism and work with key stakeholders to campaign against political vigilantism and electoral violence.
Mr. Monney emphasised the need for well-meaning Ghanaians not leave the destiny of the country in the hands of political hooligans.
He stated that political vandalism is an infringement on the collective values, normative politics, regulation from state institutions and the controlling ability of the security agencies.
The GJA President observed that “the electoral violence that rocked the Ayawaso West Wuogon Constituency by-election in 2019 resulting in shooting of citizens sends a strong signal of the potential threats of political Vigilantism to election 2020.”
The Executive Secretary of the National Peace Council, George Amoh who launched the project underscored the importance of the project and said it is the responsibility of all citizens and the media to maintain the peace of the country.
He said the National Peace Council in collaboration with some key stakeholders have developed a road map and codes of conduct for political activists and media practitioners towards ending political Vigilantism.
Mr. Amoh said the National Peace Council has a comprehensive peace promotion programme that will be implemented in all constituencies across the country.
He said the Council is working hard to get the NDC to sign unto the peace and anti-political Vigilantism pack so as to get all stakeholders onboard the fight against political vigilantism and electoral violence.
Mr. Amoh is hopeful Ghana will once again pull through the impending elections peacefully saying the country has built enough resilience to overcome any potential threat.
He however explained that it will take the efforts of all stakeholders to maintain the peace that the country is presently enjoying and entreated the political parties and the media to show the way by being measured in their actions.
The GJA Project Management Consultant, Kojo Impraim said the 14 month project will involve organisation of workshops for journalists on conflict sensitive reporting , dialogue with political commentators, education on electoral laws, production of peace Documentaries, the setting up of a community of practice on security among others.
He said the GJA will leverage on its existing “We the People” TV programme on GTV to engage citizens and key stakeholders in the “no to political Vigilantism and electoral violence project”.