The New Patriotic Party (NPP) has written to the National Democratic Congress (NDC) asking the leadership of the two parties to meet this week to begin the discussion of the disbandment of vigilante groups affiliated to both parties.
Dated March 15, 2019, the letter was signed by the General Secretary of the NPP, Mr John Boadu, and addressed to the National Chairman of the NDC, Mr Samuel Ofosu Ampofo.
“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,” the letter stated.
It would be recalled that President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, in his third State Of the Nation Address on February 21, this year, directed the two parties to meet within the week of his speech to dialogue on disbanding party militia.
He added that if the dialogue failed, he would initiate legislation on the matter.
After almost a week of not hearing from the NPP, the Chairman of the NDC, Mr Ofosu Ampofo, wrote to the President.
In his letter, Mr Ofosu Ampofo suggested that other political parties, civil society and the media should be invited to join the dialogue.
In his response, President Akufo-Addo said he saw no basis for the request given that the suggested groups did not have any “vigilante” groups.
As a result of the delay by both the NPP and the NDC to meet over the matter, the President has since directed the Attorney-General to draft a legislation to tackle the menace of political vigilantism.
The NPP’s letter urged the two parties to proceed and begin the discussion of 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”.
“This invitation has been necessitated not only by the President’s call during the 2019 State of the Nation’s 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,” it stated.
Per the letter, the National Chairman of NPP, Mr Freddie Blay, has been “engaging your good self in telephone conversations on the subject.
We think that time is now rife 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 for this consideration at the meeting, which will afford the two parties the opportunity to agree on the various stakeholders to be invited in the subsequent engagements,” the letter stated.
Acknowledging the receipt of the letter, the Deputy General Secretary of the NDC, Mr Peter Boamah Otokunor, said the party received it on Monday around 4pm.
“We have received the letter and have discussed it preliminary. The party is going to take a decision later by the close of Tuesday,” he said.
However, Mr Otokunor said the details in the NPP letter revealed that the party was not committed to the process to disband vigilante groups.
“But clearly, if you see what is in the letter, the NPP still are unable to show the kind of commitment that the people of Ghana are expecting from them in respect of this matter,” he said.
Describing the NPP letter as an exhibition of bad faith, Mr Otokunor said the move might hinder the dialogue process since the governing party did not state the venue, time or participants for the specific meeting.