President Nana Akufo-Addo is, among other things, dismayed by the conditions the National Democratic Congress (NDC) has proposed for a meeting with the New Patriotic Party (NPP) to end political violence and vigilantism.
In the NDC’s letter to the President on February 28, the main opposition party had requested that third parties like the National Peace Council and other civil society groups be allowed to mediate the dialogue between the parties.
But the President said he saw “little basis” for some of the requests in his response to the NDC.
“I am dismayed, and I believe that the Ghanaian people share my dismay, that the two parties who have dominated and continue to dominate the politics of the fourth republic…cannot meet to dialogue on matters of our nation’s governance and political culture without the intervention of outsiders. It is important that we trust in our own capabilities to resolve our own problems.”
The NDC had also requested that the other opposition parties be included in such dialogues but President Nana Akuf0-Addo noted that political vigilantism “has unfortunately been associated with the National Democratic Congress and the New Patriotic Party.”
In a pledge of support, President Akufo-Addo added that the “government stands ready to provide a venue if it is the wish of the parties.”
Delivering his 2019 State of the Nation Address in Parliament, President Akufo-Addo first revealed he had instructed the leadership of the NPP, which he belongs to, to extend an invitation to the opposition NDC to discuss how to disband their respective vigilante groups.
Akufo-Addo said the phenomenon of political vigilantism could destabilise the country and reverse the democratic gains.
“I want to use the platform of this Message to make a sincere, passionate appeal to the leaders of the two main political parties in our country, NPP and NDC, to come together, as soon as possible, preferably next week, to agree on appropriate measures to bring an end to this worrying and unacceptable phenomenon of vigilantism in our body politic,” he said.
In the wake of the Ayawaso West Wuogon by-election violence, President Akufo-Addo promised to use legislation to stop the political vigilantism if the two parties fail to stop it voluntarily.