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Political vigilante groups and rationalism in Ghana’s electoral democracy


In Ghana, electoral democracy appears to threaten the peace, security and stability of the country. Localised violence has accompanied every election, at least under the Fourth Republic. Political violence usually occurs in the
electoral cycle and is characterized by threats, intimidation, physical assault, vandalization of electoral materials, as well as the use of hate speeches and incendiary language. This paper analyses political vigilantism in Ghana’s electoral politics. The paper examines the historical and social conditioning of political vigilantism in Ghana with the view of appreciating the relationship between the social and the political dimensions. The social variable of political vigilantism is still reinforced by rational calculation of the actors: in terms of the political benefit emanating from the action, the social reaction of citizens in the country and the response of the state to their actions. As citizens seem to accept the actions of party vigilante groups as the norm rather than an exception to societal values and behaviour, they are emboldened to perpetuate their activities.