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General News of Thursday, 21 March 2019

Source: XYZ

Ending party vigilante groups: NDC in crunch meeting over NPP’s invitation

The General Secretary of the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) has disclosed the party is meeting over the invitation by the ruling New Patriotic party (NPP) over the disbandment of vigilante groups within their parties.

He told Mugabe Maase on Inside Politics on Radio XYZ that once the NPP is ready to be transparent on issues relating to the subject matter and consider the NDC’s concerns, they will put in their best to finding a lasting solution to the menace of party vigilantism in the country.

Last month President Nana Akufo-Addo directed the two major political parties in the country to dissolve the groups during his State of the Nation Address.

Since the announcement, both parties have been debating on how to clamp down on the activities of vigilante groups who cause mayhem during elections.

In NDC’s response to the call to dialogue over the menace of these militia groups, NDC national Chairman, Samuel Ofosu Ampofo requested the dialogue be mediated by an interlocutor such as the National Peace Council or other civil society organisations.

The NDC leader said the disbandment was not only limited to the New Patriotic Party and the National Democratic Congress but to “all political parties, civil society organisations, representatives of the media, representatives of the military, police and other security agencies, as well as other relevant stakeholders”.

But President Akufo-Addo, in his reply, rather said he “had hoped that the proposed meeting would be without preconditions on either side” – a response analysts have criticised.

But weeks after the back and forth, the NPP in a statement signed by its General-Secretary, John Buadu has officially invited the NDC to a dialogue “and explore ways of permanently disbanding the various vigilante groups associated with Ghana’s two major political parties.”

The letter released on Tuesday stated that the request of the NDC would be considered saying “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.”

“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,” Mr Buadu noted and added “We think that time is now rife for the parties to hold this crucial meeting, which the whole nation has been looking forward to.”

the letter also added: “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.”