Vigilantism Bill: Muntaka warns against how the state should treat land guards

Politics of Wednesday, 10 July 2019

Source: Ghananewsagency.org

2019-07-10

Minority Chief Whip, Mohammed Mubarak-Muntaka

The Minority Chief Whip, Mohammed Mubarak-Muntaka, has told the state to tread with caution in its bid to resolve land guard issues in the country in order not to create another problem.

In the view of Mubarak-Muntaka, who is also the National Democratic Congress (NDC) Member of Parliament (MP) for Asewase, the laws of the land permit any individual in the country to own a gun and also engage a private security person.

He is however not clear what the state will classify a security man or woman employed by somebody to protect a landed property and in the course of the work, violence breaks out as a result of the contracted private security man or woman trying to expel an intruder.

“When some armed robbers or other attackers come there and there is some violence there, you define such a person as land guard? Let’s be careful in our zeal to solve a problem, let’s not create another problem. Because in our zeal to romp in all the bad nuts, let’s be careful not to romp in innocent or different people who may be doing legitimate business. Because Mr Speaker, there is nothing wrong with me employing somebody privately to be a watchman in my house or to a watchman to protect my land. There is nothing wrong with that because I may not be able to pay a Police to be standing in front of my property all the time”, he noted.

He added “Members of this House based on our own arrangements are supposed to be hiring a private a person to protect them. It may not necessarily become from a well-organized security friend but once you engage someone to sit at your gate, open your gate, close the gate and expel intruders, if there is violence around that place because that person is protecting your property, will you call that person a land guard?”, he quizzed.

The Minority Chief Whip made this observation, Tuesday, when contributing to discussions on the Vigilantism and Related Offences Bill, 2019 which is at the consideration stage.

However, Alhaji Mubarak-Muntaka’s fears were addressed by the First Deputy Speaker of the House, Joseph Osei Owusu.

In allaying his fears, Hon. Osei Owusu, who is also the New Patriotic Party (NPP) MP for Bekwai said, should any violence breakout at a location where somebody has been employed to protect but that person does is not registered to old firearms, he or she will be regarded as a land guard.

“Mr. Speaker, there are Police Officers, National Security Officers and privately registered security organizations. In addition to that, any individual may apply to hold firearms. If you engage a person to be a security on your property, and you apply for that person to hold a firearm, that person is legitimately entitled to but you would have noticed the Police that you are operating here and that person is permitted to hold a gun. The person becomes or may fall foul of the law if he is not licensed to hold firearm and he is not on the registered company but he is just an ordinary person whether you employed him or he is operating on his own carrying firearms and threatening other people or being aggressive to other people”.

“The system where people use violence for settling disputes in what has metamorphosed into landguardism, legislate it, otherwise nobody can stop you from legitimately hiring somebody licensed to hold a firearm and I think we should differentiate between the two” he explained.

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