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Vigilantism in Ghana: Akufo-Addo directs A-G to draft a legislation to Parliament

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The President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, has directed the Attorney-General, Gloria Akuffo, to prepare and submit to parliament, specific legislation to deal with the phenomenon of vigilantism in the country and to provide appropriate sanctions.

The directive is in line with the President’s earlier pronouncement during his last State of the Nation Address, where he announced his decision to effect a legislation should the two main political parties fail to disband their vigilante groups.

“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 can only inure to the benefit of Ghanaian democracy and to the preservation of law and order,” the President said in a letter addressed to the National Chairman of the National Democratic Congress.

The National Democratic Congress (NDC) has insisted on the need for a third party to mediate talks between them and the governing New Patriotic Party on the way forward in dealing with the issue of political party vigilante groups in the country.

In a recent letter signed by the National Chairman of the NDC, Samuel Ofosu-Ampofo, to the President, the NDC requested the involvement of external organisations such as ECOWAS, the AU and civil society organisations in dealing with the matter.

“Our attempt at a solution that goes beyond the legal process would be of interest to institutions involved in ensuring peaceful development across Africa. 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,” the party noted.
The NDC further requested for the involvement of the general public and entities such as the Ghana Peace Council or the various expert institutions to weigh in on the debate on the matter.
The position of the National Democratic Congress to have an external mediator in the processes is shared by some civil society organisations in the country.
Meanwhile, the National Peace Council has expressed readiness to mediate the processes that would be initiated by the two political parties in addressing the problem.
The council said it will give the requisite support needed to bring vigilantism to an end in the country.

“The National Peace Council wants to assure you that it stands prepared to provide the necessary assistance and facilitation should the parties agree to the call for the council to facilitate mediation,” the council noted in a recent statement.

Source: Daniel NONOR, Jubilee House

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