The President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has tasked the Attorney General to prepare a legislation against vigilantism in Ghana.
In a response to a second letter the National Chairman of the opposition National Democratic Congress, Mr Samuel Ofosu Ampofo sent to him on the subject matter of disbanding vigilantism in Ghanaian politics, President Akufo-Addo wrote: “I have, in line with my pronouncement to Parliament during the Message on the State of the Nation on 21st February, 2019 instructed the Attorney General, without prejudice to the outcome of the engagement, if any, between the NPP and NDC, to prepare and submit to Parliament, as soon as possible, specific legislation to deal with the phenomenon of vigilantism, and provide appropriate sanctions against its occurrence.”
“I believe that the parliamentary process of enactment affords sufficient space for any citizen to make an input or contribution to the enactment of a good and effective law, whose implementation will enable us rid our nation of politically-related violence, a development that an only inure to the benefit of Ghanaian democracy and to the preservation of law and order,” President Akufo-Addo added.
The opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) had written to the president demanding international involvement in order to mediate the process of disbandment.
The Party in a recent letter to the President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo had said that the United Nations (UN), Africa Union (AU) and Economic Community of West Africa State (ECOWAS) should mediate the process disbanding militia groups affiliated to the New Patriotic Party (NPP) and the NDC.
The NDC said if the two parties – NPP and NDC – are made to dialogue alone, the situation would degenerate further.
It may be recalled that Nana Addo in his State of the Nation Address appealed to the NDC and the NPP to meet and dialogue to disband their militia groups.
Following that, the NDC Chairman, Samuel Ofosu Ampofo wrote to Nana Addo suggesting that the Chairman of the National Peace Council should mediate the dialogue.
The NDC’s letter added that other political parties, civil society and the media as well as international peace bodies join the dialogue.
But Nana Addo dismissed the suggestion indicating there is no basis for it.
However, the NDC in its second letter to the president signed by Ofosu-Ampofo said “Our attempt at a solution that goes beyond the legal process would be of interest to institutions involved in ensuring peaceful development across Africa.
It said “These include ECOWAS, the AU and various UN agencies. Ghana is a member of these bodies and is entitled to call on their resources to assist in resolving critical problems. This is not in any way a surrender of our sovereignty or a declaration of a lack of faith in our own abilities. We see it rather as an act of responsible regional and international citizenship and transparency.”
“Your Excellency, our position on facilitation flows logically from our position on participation. We are not looking at a principally juridical process. As indicated, we envisage a large and complex citizens’ process. There will be several different stakeholders with different perspectives and priorities. The process itself will involve elements of goal-setting, fact-finding, confidence-building, reconciliation, policy prescription and mobilisation of public opinion,” Ofosu Ampofo said in the letter,” the letter stated.
The NDC National Chairman among other things explained that their letter did not call for CSOs and other proposed participants to disband their militias adding that the party did not suggest that the National Peace Council has an armed militia but rather called for wider participation in a citizens’ process to end organised political violence.
“Our position on participation is actually quite simple: a lasting solution to the crisis of political violence requires that we involve all stakeholders. This is generally accepted as good practice” the letter said.
Beyond NDC, NPP
“We define stakeholders to include all those who are affected by a policy; all those who will be involved in policy implementation; and all those who by dint of their work or expertise in the relevant area of policy have informed perspectives to contribute to policymaking. The stakeholders in the struggle against political violence cannot reasonably be limited to the two largest political parties.”
Ofosu Ampofo noted that the list of stakeholders proposed can, of course, be tightened or expanded.