The National Peace Council has urged the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP), the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) and civil society organisations (CSOs) to come out with modalities for addressing vigilantism in the country.
Reverend Professor Emmanuel Asante, the Chairman of the National Peace Council said violent vigilantism had become a security concern to the nation’s democracy, especially, during election periods.
“Unfortunately, tensions, violence and sometimes destruction of life and property have characterized elections in the country, often fuelled by so called vigilante groups, associated with political parties,” Rev Prof Asante stated on Monday in his address at the third Stakeholder Meeting on the Eradication of Political Vigilantism in the country at Peduase, in the Eastern Region.
“Let us come out of this dialogue with concrete outcomes that will deepen the process we have already began and also produce results that can help Parliament to pass an Act (the Vigilante and Related Bill) that that will (respond positively to the wishes of our peoples,” Rev Prof Asante said.
“It’s our greatest hope that we will approach this process with open mind respect for each other and above all love for our country and its children, so that at the end of this process, which we started on Tuesday, April 9, 2019, Ghana will once again, earn the respect of her citizens and the international community once again.”
The meeting, which was at the instance of President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, was mediated by the National Peace Council.
It would be recalled that President Akufo-Addo in his State of the Nation Address in Parliament on Thursday, February 21, called on the leadership of the two main leading political parties (NPP and NDC) to help find a lasting solution to the menace of political vigilantism in Ghana.
The NPP delegation to the two-day meeting is being led by Mr Freddie Blay, National Chairman and Mr John Boadu, General Secretary.
The NDC side was led by Mr Samuel Ofosu-Ampofo, National Chairman and Mr Johnson Asiedu Nketia, General Secretary.
The NPP delegation together with the members of the National Peace Council Board, representatives of CSOs and the media had to delay the meeting for hours pending the arrival of the NDC delegation.
The delay of the meeting was because the NDC Chairman had to go to court in the morning over the content of an alleged leaked audio tape recording, before making it to Peduase for the meeting.
Rev Prof Asante said the National Peace Council and Ghanaians heaved a sigh of relief when the NPP and the NDC reached a consensus to address the issue of violent vigilante activities, which had become a malaise on evolving democracy.
He said the NDC and the NPP, by accepting the National Peace Council, had demonstrated their belief in the resilience of National Institutions and the ability of Ghanaians to confront and address the nation’s own challenges.
He noted that the two engagements that the Council had had with the two parties were very positive and the communiqués that were issued attest to that.
Rev Prof Asante said the competition for political and other offices should be conducted in a manner with the view of winning power, to manage resources for the socioeconomic development of the people.
Nana Dr SKB Asante, a member of the National Peace Council and Chairman of the Mediation Committee on Eradicating Political Vigilantism, said the Council based on insight gained from the ongoing dialogue would make a submission to Parliament on the Vigilantism and Related Offences Bill, 2019.
“It is impressive that we derive from this dialogue, workable solutions to the incidence of political vigilantism in Ghana,” he said.
Representatives of CSOs at the meeting include Nana Kwabena Mensah Abrampah of the Centre for Democratic Development Ghana and Dr Emmanuel Akwetey, the Executive Director, Institute of Democratic Governance.
The rest are Dr Emmanuel Kwesi Aning, the Director of Faculty of Academic Affairs and Research, Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Centre and Mr Vincent Azumah, Regional Coordinator for Research, Monitoring and Evaluation of the West Africa Network for Peace building (WANEP).