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xxxxxxxxxxx of Tuesday, 19 March 2019

Source: Graphic.com.gh

Vigilante groups: NPP writes to NDC over dialogue

The National Democratic Congress (NDC) has confirmed the receipt of a letter from the New Patriotic Party (NPP) advocating for a dialogue over disbanding vigilante groups affiliated to both parties.

The Deputy General Secretary of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), Peter Boamah Otokunor said although the party had received the letter yesterday, the details show that the NPP was not committed to the process to disband vigilante groups.

"...We have taken receipt of the letter yesterday around 4pm and we have discussed it preliminary and we are going to take a decision later by close of today," Mr Otokunor said in an interview with Joy FM.

"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 the bad faith exhibited by the NPP in their letter would hinder the dialogue. Mr Otokunor said the NPP failed to state the venue, time or participants for the specific meeting.

However, the General Secretary of the NPP, John Boadu said the governing party felt it would have been wrong to have chosen the location for the dialogue without consultation.



Read the entire NPP letter below;

INVITATION TO A MEETING ON THE SUBJECT OF ‘DISBANDMENT OF PARTY VIGILANTE GROUPS’

On behalf of the NPP, I am pleased 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.

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.

You would recall that, since the President made this call, our National Chairman, Hon. 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 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.

Thank you.
GENERAL SECRETARY



Background

It will be recalled that President Akufo-Addo in his third State Of the Nation Address on February 21 directed the two parties to meet within a week of his speech and dialogue on disbanding party militia. He added that if the dialogue fails he would initiate legislation on the matter.

After almost a week of not hearing from the NPP, the Chairman of the NDC, Samuel Ofosu Ampofo wrote to the President.

n his letter, Ofosu Ampofo suggested that other political parties, civil society and the media should be invited to join the dialogue.

In a response which the NDC later described as “surprising,” President Akufo-Addo said he saw no basis for the request giving that the suggested groups do not have any “vigilante” groups.

The President has since directed the Attorney-General to draft a bill to tackle the menace of political vigilantism.

The directive to the Attorney-General and Minister of Justice Gloria Akuffo came 21 days after his State of the Nation’s Address to parliament.