Political parties asked to disband vigilante groups before December elections
Political parties who are still harboring vigilante groups after the ban through the passage of the Vigilantism and Related offenses Act 2019 (Act 999) have been urged to take immediate steps to complete the disbandment process before December 2020 general election.
Mr Frank Wilson Bodza, a representative of the National Peace Council (NPC) gave the advice when he addressed stakeholders during an advocacy campaign workshop held at Tarkwa in the Western Region.
The seminar, which was on the eradication of political vigilantism in Ghana was organized by the National Peace Council.
Political parties, security agencies, Electoral Commission (EC), National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE), and religious bodies attended the programme.
Mr Bodza who is the Deputy Director in Charge of Conflict Management and Resolution said the efforts of these institutions were to ensure that Ghana goes through another election based on the principles of free, fair accurate, and credible, he said.
The NPC representative said it was genuine for all stakeholders with competing ideas to engage in an open discourse and express their opinions to shape the process towards achieving the results that they all desire.
He indicated that “if such democratic discourse had been undertaken in line with the constitution and human right provision of freedom of expression, we should be mindful not to derail the work, which the constitutionally mandated institutions have built, natured and grown over the years. These institutions should embrace opposing views and concerns of key stakeholders”
He said work must be done through consensus building in a manner that bridges gaps in the electoral management process.
He entreated political parties to express their standpoints on national issues with decorum and provide practical solutions to many challenges that may confront them, stressing that, they should respect each other in their deeds and utterances.
Mr Bodza called on civil society groups and the media to play a neutral role but be critical stakeholders in the state to enhance Ghana’s governance process through education and sensitization.
He beseeched politicians to engage each other constructively and avoid words and actions that could tear the nation apart and instead show to their communities that politicians are not enemies but individuals with divergent views on ways of developing Ghana.
Alhaji Yusif Djamson, Western Regional representative of Peace Council, recalled that last year, NPC facilitated the dialogue process and the outcome of which was the drafted and trumpeted of the road map to the eradication of political vigilantism in Ghana and code of conduct for political parties
He said, “whereas the former clearly sets out the norms and principles to guide the elimination of politically related violence and to contribute to securing a sustainable peace in Ghana, the latter was a set of general guidelines and standards of behavior against political vigilantism”.