Political vigilante groups in Ghana: violence or democracy?

TitlePolitical vigilante groups in Ghana: violence or democracy?
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2021
AuthorsJ.R.K.O. Kyei, and L.H. Berckmoes
Secondary TitleAfrica spectrum
Date Published2021
Publication Languageeng
Keywordsdemocracy, Ghana, politics, vigilante groups, youth

Literature on political vigilante groups has centred on the violence and conflict that emanate from their activities. This article approaches political vigilante groups as political actors who engage in political mobilisation and participation and therewith also contribute to nation state building. It explores how such groups participate in Ghana’s democratic governance and asks whether violence is an inevitable characteristic. The article builds on individual in-depth interviews and focus group discussions with political vigilante group members in Kumasi and Tamale in 2019. Findings show that political vigilante “youth” appeared to refer primarily to the social position attributed to non-elite groups in the political field. Political vigilante groups are multi-faceted in their organisational structures, membership, and activities both during electoral campaigns and during governing periods. While some groups revert to violence occasionally, the study concludes that political vigilante groups, in enabling different voices to be heard, are also contributing to democratic governance.

Citation Key11127