Party militarism: Your preconditions dismaying – Akufo-Addo to NDC

President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has expressed dismay at the leadership of the main opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) for suggesting that the National Peace Council and other relevant bodies be part of talks between the two main parties on disbanding party militias in Ghana’s politics.

The NDC agreed to Nana Akufo-Addo’s call for the two parties to meet over how to disband party militia groups in the country but outlined some conditions for their participation in the dialogue.

The NDC, in a statement signed by its Chairman, Mr Samuel Ofosu-Ampofo, addressed to the president, said the call for disbandment should be extended to all political parties, civil society organisations, representatives of the media, representatives of the military, the police and other security agencies as well as any other relevant stakeholders.

The NDC also proposed that relevant bodies such as the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Centre, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE), Institute for Democratic Governance (IDEG) join the National Peace Council to facilitate the process.

Responding to the NDC’s conditions, Nana Akufo-Addo, in a letter said: “I am not aware of any vigilante groups that are associated with any of these bodies as your letter suggests. Political party vigilante activity in the country has unfortunately been associated with the National Democratic Congress and the New Patriotic Party. I, thus, see little basis for your request.”

The president continued: “Secondly, your request for mediators and facilitators of the dialogue, 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, who, between them, have garnered 95 per cent of the votes in each of the seven general elections of the fourth republic, who have provided all seven governments of the fourth republic, who are the only parties currently represented in the 7th parliament of the fourth republic, cannot meet to dialogue on matters of our nation’s governance and political culture, without the intervention of outsiders including foreign entities, no matter how well-meaning.”

Nana Akufo-Addo said he had hoped that the proposed meeting would be without preconditions on either side.

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The president noted that he is aware that Mr Freddie Blay, Chairperson of the NPP, has made initial contact with the NDC on the proposed meeting and his view is that that meeting should take place as soon as possible.

“It is important that we trust in our own capabilities to resolve our own problems. The government stands ready to provide a venue if it is the wish of the parties,” Nana Akufo-Addo said, adding that: “I am hopeful that we can all work together to achieve a positive result for our country and spare it the unnecessary consequences and traumas of vigilantism.”