Nana Addo erred in rejecting call for multi stakeholder dialogue on vigilantism-Eagles Forum

Vice President of Eagles Forum, a civil society organisation, Dominic Lewis, has underscored the need for President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo to rescind his decision of having only the New Patriotic Party (NPP) and the National Democratic Congress (NDC) meet to dialogue and find a solution towards the disbandment of vigilante groups.

Speaking in interview with Kwabena Agyapong on Rainbow Radio 87 5Fm, Mr Dominic Lewis said, the position taken by the president was not the best and will not solve the problem.

He believes the challenge is not only an NPP and NDC one hence the need to have a multi stakeholder approach in dealing with the matter.

He said, any issue that bothers on peace must have the Peace Council as a mediator, but aside the Peace Council acting as mediator, we must have a multi stakeholder dialogue in resolving the issue. The multi stakeholder approach should include other political parties aside the NDC and NPP. Civil society organisations should be invited to join the discussion in order to have a lasting solution to the matter.

President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo few weeks ago has expressed dismay at the leadership of the 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.”

But Mr Dominic Lewis said, “respectfully I will disagree with the president. It is true the NDC and NPP are behind vigilantism in Ghana but the two parties cannot solve the problem. We believe any solution bothering on peace in this country, the Peace Council must be at the heart of this. We need multi stakeholder engagement and that multi stakeholder engagement, should include all political parties and civil society groups.”

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