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General News of Tuesday, 19 March 2019


NPP officially invites NDC to 'militia' talks; says it's open to NDC's proposals

Samuel Ofosu-Ampofo and Freddie Blay Samuel Ofosu-Ampofo and Freddie Blay

The governing New Patriotic Party (NPP) has said it is open to a proposal by the main opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) 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 between the two parties when he presented his state of the nation address 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.

In an invitation letter addressed to Mr Ofosu-Ampofo for a meeting on the subject matter, the General Secretary of the NPP, Mr John Boadu 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 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 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”.

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