Youths involved in electoral violence can be categorised into:
Instigators could be godfathers, aspirants as incumbents or the opposition, they could be youths by age but would not be seen where electoral violence is taking place or godfathers, whose biological relatives as youths would not participate directly in acts of electoral violence.
Instigators, certainly occupies commanding positions to directly incite the use of force to achieve their wanton desires or have financial clout to sponsor electoral violence. Instigators are investors in electoral violence waiting for their dividends after assuming office. Some Ghanaian politicians see politics as big business, with high return on investment; as such they consider it a “do or die affair” and are always in the habit of manipulating and manoeuvring the process to their advantage, most especially, when they feel the outcome might not be in their favour.
The categories of collaborators are mostly Electoral Management Bodies (EMBs) – electoral officials, civil servants and law enforcement agents. Their involvement in electoral violence is their investment contributions for the promised promotions or other appointments by the instigators.
Electoral umpires often threw professionalism and ethical standards to the dogs and became brazenly partisan collaborators of electoral violence. They are the master riggers, manipulators and intimidators. They are the masters of psychological electoral warfare.
The police and other security agents also as collaborators and perpetrators of electoral violence go out the law to support one individual or party against the others. They are often selective in the discharge of their constitutional duties. The uncivilized manner they handle warring parties and the general public is a significant cause of violence in politics.
In this category also are the traditional and religious leaders. They cause electoral violence when they succumb to ethnic or, religious sentiments in determining the politician they lend support. They use their influence to mobilize and persuade their followers to support one individual or party against another based on preconceived bias.
While implementers are the category of youths earlier qualified as ‘vagabonds and gangsters’. They carry out the actual electoral violence. In few cases, the law enforcement agents also act as implementers, using their official capacity to unleash hell to the poor masses. They are often state agents of destruction – sponsored by the incumbent, using state machinery and paraphernalia of office towards achieving this. These youths are simply ‘tools’ in the hand of instigators of electoral violence.
Retaliators on the other hand might initially not even be at the scene of electoral violence, but responds in vengeance with more violence because one of their own – a mother, wife, son, daughter, religious or community leader or even political aspirant was a victim of electoral violence. The motive of retaliators makes their involvement more dangerous and deadly. For instance, they can go to any extent if a religious leader is harmed by perpetrators of electoral violence.
The instrument the implementers use is political thuggery; they and collaborators use violence, intimidation and harassments, manipulation. Incitement is solely the political instruments godfathers and other political elite’ uses to instigate electoral violence.
The four are also subdivided into indispensable and expendable Youths
Graphically, these four categories are easily classified into two main subs – “expendables and indispensable (too valuable)” youths involved in electoral violence. Instigators fall in the category of the indispensable youths, who are too valuable to directly get involved in electoral violence.
- This is to protect themselves from direct line of fire of the electoral violence as well as the publicity that might jeopardise their ambition and the legal tussle that might accompany such involvement, if indicted.
- They in all accounts protect themselves from any harm and bad publicity, not to be seen as ‘violators’ of the rule of law.
- They and their biological relatives never partake directly in electoral violence. However, they could be entangled in electoral violence, if they are named by leaking perpetrators as financier. To a certain extent, collaborators also enjoy this ‘privileged immunity’. But because they are often on the electoral ‘battle ground’, they could be victims of electoral violence, though at very minimal ratio. Because the authorities that invested in them, places a veil of protection on the collaborators unlike the expendables.
Are instigators – godfathers and aspirants who are too valuable to directly get involved in electoral violence. They are protected from direct line of fire of the electoral violence as well as the publicity that might jeopardise their ambition and the legal tussle that might accompany such information. They in all accounts protect themselves from any harm, bad publicity and not ‘violated the rule of law. This accounts to the fact that they and their biological relatives can never be seen actively participating in electoral violence.
These are the youths whose lives are not worthy of preservation, they are disposables at any given time. They are the tools the Instigators often incited, gave arms to kill themselves for peanuts. They are often fed with drugs and other intoxicants for them to be ruthless agents of destruction.
The expendables are not worthy of preservation, they are disposables at any given time. These are the youths that are often incited, given arms to kill themselves for peanuts. It is so pathetic that at times, a budget is maintained for feeding these youths with drugs and other intoxicants for them to be ruthless agents of destruction, whoever is in their line of fire in that state, they would not give a damn. This explains the reasons behind escalations of intra family electoral violence. The retaliators may also fall in this category.
By Gh. Kojo | myactiveonline.com