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Militia Talks: NDC Asks Peace Council To Choose Venue, Date As "Mediator"   
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The National Democratic Congress (NDC) has asked the National Peace Council to choose a date and venue for the proposed party militia disbandment talks between the main opposition party and the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP) as proposed by President Nana Akufo-Addo during his third state of the nation address.

In a response to the NPP’s official invitation to the talks, the NDC, in a letter signed by General Secretary Johnson Asiedu Nketia, said: “We write to acknowledge receipt of your letter dated 15 March 2019 and wish to thank you for the contents therein.

“We are gratified that you have, in agreement with our view, confirmed our position that this discussion has to be a multi-stakeholder engagement.

“In furtherance of this, we have taken the liberty to request the National Peace Council to kindly exercise its statutory mandate and assume the role of mediator in the deliberations on the above subject (disbandment of party vigilante groups).

“We hold ourselves ready to meet your good selves at any venue and date the National Peace Council may propose.

“We also take this opportunity to bring to your attention, a copy of our most recent correspondence with His Excellency the president, as it reaffirms our earlier position on the matter”.

The NPP had said in its invitation letter to the NDC that it was open to a proposal by its opposite number for the inclusion of neutral third parties in their discussions toward disbanding militia groups affiliated to the two parties.

President Nana Akufo-Addo first proposed the meeting in February following the gun violence that marred the Ayawaso West Wuogon by-election on Thursday, 31 January 2019.

The NDC, however, wrote to the president, through its National Chairman, Mr Samuel Ofosu-Ampofo, suggesting that the National Peace Council be made to be part of such a meeting as a neutral interlocutor along with other stakeholders.

The president responded to that letter insisting the two parties were capable of meeting at the table to deal with the problem themselves without involving outsiders.

The NDC replied the president in a second letter in which the party insisted on having neutral third parties such as the UN, AU, and ECOWAS at such a meeting to mediate the talks.

In his second reply to the NDC, the president said he had ordered his Attorney General to start drafting legislation toward outlawing party militarism without prejudice to any meeting the two parties may subsequently have over the same matter.

The NPP’s invitation letter, written by its General Secretary, Mr John Boadu addressed to Mr Ofosu-Ampofo for the meeting on the subject matter, said he was pleased, on behalf of the party, “to officially invite you [the NDC] to a meeting to discuss the menace of political vigilantism, which has gained notoriety in the country, and explore ways of permanently disbanding the various vigilante groups associated with Ghana’s two major political parties”.

The invitation, Mr Boadu said, “has been necessitated not only by the president’s call during the 2019 state of the nation address, but also by the legitimate concerns expressed by overwhelming Ghanaians about this menace, and the need for the two political parties to do the needful in the interest of the nation”.

Mr Boadu told the NDC Chairman in the letter that: “You’ll recall that since the president made this call, our National Chairman, Freddie Blay, has been engaging your good self in telephone conversations on the subject. We think that time is now ripe for the parties to hold this crucial meeting, which the whole nation has been looking forward to.

“We have also taken notice of your request to expand the scope of the engagement to include multiple stakeholders and wish to assure you that the NPP avails itself of this consideration at the meeting, which will afford the two parties the opportunity to agree on the various stakeholders to be invited to the subsequent engagements.

“The NPP proposes that this crucial meeting comes off during this week at a venue convenient to you and, so, we entreat you to, as soon as possible, get in touch with the party when you find a suitable venue for this meeting”.

Source: Class News

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