President Nana Akufo-Addo has reiterated his condemnation of vigilante groups insisting that the New Patriotic Party (NPP) has no plans to recruit “thugs” ahead of the 2020 election.
In a public letter responding to the National Democratic Congress after his call for Ghana’s two main political parties to dialogue over political vigilantism, the President said the NPP will contest the 2020 election “on the basis of our record, our argument and our values.”
“Neither the New Patriotic Party nor I need political party thugs to win the 2020 election.”
In the NDC’s letter to the President on February 28, 2019, the main opposition party had, among other things, requested that the other opposition parties, as well as the National Peace Council and other some civil society organisations be included in such dialogues.
But President Nana Akufo-Addo noted that political vigilantism “has unfortunately been associated with the National Democratic Congress and the New Patriotic Party.”
“I, thus, see little basis for your request,” the President stated.
The NDC also requested a third party to mediate the dialogue between the parties but the President also saw no merit in these requests.
He said he was dismayed by the suggestion that the NDC and NPP “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.”
On the matter of the meeting, President Akufo-Addo added that the “government stands ready to provide a venue if it is the wish of the parties.”
Conflict with Short commission
The NDC also expressed concern in its letter that any dialogue will undermine the work of the Short Commission probing the Ayawaso West Wuogon by-election violence.
But the President again shot down the NDC’s concerns.
“I see no conflict and I cannot see how the work of the commission can be compromised by a voluntary dialogue between the two main political parties in our country.”
The president also responded to what he described as falsehoods and misrepresentations in the NDC’s letter to the President, which the opposition party continued allegations that the violence during the Ayawaso West Wuogon by-election violence was state sponsored.
“No evidence has been established at the ongoing Short Commission about the sponsorship by the New Patriotic Party of vigilantes into the national security system. No such sponsorship has taken place and none will take place,” President Akufo-Addo stated.