President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo says he is shocked by a request by the National Democratic Congress (NDC) for civil society organizations and other groups to take part in a meeting aimed at finding a lasting solution to political vigilantism in the country.
The president had during the delivery of his third State of the Nation Address called on both the NDC and NPP to dialogue and see to the disbandment of militia groups associated with the two parties.
In response to this call, Chairman of the NDC, Samuel Ofosu Ampofo wrote to the president stating the party’s willingness to partake in the said meeting.
However, Mr. Ampofo charged the president to appoint a mediator to oversee the meeting, and also called for the inclusion of civil society groups and some other organizations in the said meeting.
Responding to the NDC in a letter signed by the president and addressed to the NDC Chairman, President Akufo-Addo was surprised the NDC is asking for the appointment of a mediator and inclusion of other parties.
According to the president, he is dismayed that the two parties who have dominated and continue to dominate the politics of the Fourth Republic will need a mediator to dialogue on matters of governance and political culture.
President Akufo-Addo noted that it is the NDC and NPP that is associated with the militia groups, hence, it is important that the two parties deal with the issue at hand.
“I am not aware of any vigilante groups that are associated with any of these bodies, as your letter suggests. Political party vigilante activity in the country has, unfortunately, been associated with the National Democratic Congress and the New Patriotic Party. I, thus, see little basis for your request,” the president stated.
He hoped that the proposed meeting over the issue of militia groups would have been done within the shortest possible time by the two parties without preconditions from the NDC.
“My own view is that that meeting should take place as soon as possible, and all matters ventilated there, and the outcome of the meeting or meetings will be appropriately addressed. It is important that we trust in our own capabilities to resolve our own problems. Government stands ready to provide a venue, if it is the wish of the parties.”
However, the president Akufo-Addo is still hopeful the two parties will come together to achieve a positive result in sparing Ghana the consequences and traumas caused by the activities of the militia groups.
Other security issues raised
In the letter addressed to the NDC Chairman, President Akufo-Addo also debunked assertions made by the NDC that the New Patriotic Party (NPP) recruits members of its militia group into the national security.
“Firstly, contrary to your assertion, no evidence has been established at the on- going Short Commission about the sponsorship by the New Patriotic Party of vigilantes into the national security system.”
He also denied allegations that the NPP plans of unleashing thugs during the 2020 elections to retain power.
“Secondly, neither the Government nor the ruling New Patriotic Party has made any plans to ‘recruit party thugs for the 2020 general elections.’ No such directive has been given, nor will any such directive be given, and no such recruitment is taking place.
“Neither the New Patriotic Party nor I need political party thugs to win the 2020 election. We will do so on the basis of our record, our argument and our values,” President Akufo-Addo stressed.
The president reiterated his commitment towards ensuring that peace prevails in the country.