Political Vigilantism Goes Beyond Law-And-Order Response – NDC to Akufo-Addo

The National Democratic Congress (NDC) has written back to the president, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, over the call for an engagement with the New Patriotic Party (NPP) in disbanding their vigilante groups.

Signed by NDC’s National Chairman Samuel Ofosu Ampofo, the letter on Thursday made reference to the president’s latest letter on Thursday, March 14, raising concerns about the triggering of a legislation process to stamp out the menace.

President Akufo-Addo had indicated in his letter that without prejudice to the dialogue, he had instructed the Attorney General to prepare and submit a legislation to Parliament. “As indicated in our previous letter and again above we believe the problem of political violence requires much more than a law-and-order response,” Mr Ofosu Ampofo stated.

“It requires a national dialogue that can generate a renewed commitment to constitutional values and processes.”

He pointed out that without prejudice to the prerogatives as president, “we think that a National Dialogue would provide the best opportunity to evaluate the adequacy of our legislation and get broad consensus behind whatever interventions Your Excellency intends”.

The NDC National Chairman, however, expressed satisfaction with the NPP’s interest in a wider participation in the dialogue by other stakeholders. The letter even suggested that the dialogue be named ‘National Dialogue on Constitutionalism and Non-Violent Social Engagement’.

It said this has been as a result of the evolution and clarification the largest opposition party has had in the last month over the proposal.

President Akufo-Addo made his first call for an engagement between the two major political parties against political vigilantism at his February 21 state of the nation address.

It came after he set up a commission of inquiry – led by retired Supreme Court judge Francis Emile Short – to look into the Ayawaso West Wuogon by-election violence.

Immediately before then, a drive-by deadly shooting had interrupted a meeting of national executives of the NDC at its Ashanti Region office. “Pending this,” the NDC highlighted in its letter on Thursday, “we note that the general law empowers you as President to issue an executive instrument proscribing organisations whose operations are inimical to the public interest.

“We also note that Your Excellency as Chair of the National Security Council, can demand that it ceases the unlawful organisation and deployment of armed forces such as we saw in the Ayawaso West Bye-Election.

The officers from the National Security Council whose presence during the by-election raised hackles
“And of course, Your Excellency can also instruct your ministerial appointees at the Ministries for National Security and Interior to take steps to disband these forces.”

The president has already vowed to stamp out the menace from Ghanaian politics.

Akufo-Addo vows to stamp out violence from politics
The NDC commended the president for his posture, declaring commitment to ensure peace.

“We hope to remain constructive partners in advancing the quest for constitutionalism and peaceful engagement in all areas of national life.”