President Nana Akufo-Addo has directed his Attorney-General to draft a bill to tackle the menace of party militias which has plagued his government since he was sworn in 2017.
The directive to the Attorney-General and Minister of Justice Gloria Akuffo comes 21 days after his 21 February 2019 State of the Nation’s Address to parliament.
There before MPs, he promised to push through Parliament, a House his party heavily controls, fresh legislations expected to be more punitive.
The only thing which could hold him back was if the NPP and NDC take up his proposal to meet and address the impunity with which organised thugs have harassed political appointees, closed public offices and created insecurity.
While repeating its commitment to resolving the menace, NPP is yet to invite the NDC to such a meeting while the NDC has asked that mediators be brought to broker an agreement.
The NDC suggestion to expand the meeting has been hailed by 12 civil society organisations but has been frowned upon by the President and his governing party.
After two letters from the NDC to the president pressing him over the inclusion of their suggestions, the President appears frustrated over lack of progress on his proposals.
He has gone ahead to demand a draft bill on vigilantism.
The President said the new directive is “without prejudice to the outcome of the engagement, if any, between the NPP and NDC”.
With a general election in 2020 not so far off, the government would have some explaining to do over the persisting problem of party militias affiliated to the NPP.
The NPP has Invincible Forces in Accra, Delta Forces in Kumasi, Kandahar Boys in Tamale all of which have stamped an imprint of impunity on the government.
The stand-out example of punishment involved 13 members of Delta Force who in 2017 were fined ¢1, 800 each after assaulting the Ashanti Regional Security Coordinating officer.
The fines, for conspiracy to commit crime, crime to wit, conspiracy and rioting, were criticised as not deterrent enough.
The NDC on the other hand once endorsed several groups formed to protect the interest of the party and party officials and personalities.
Notable among the groups are the Hawks which six months after it was outdoored have been linked to the murder of an NDC supporter in the Ashanti region.
It is believed militias on both rival parties, Invincible Forces, Kandahar Boys for the NPP and Hawks for the NDC, clashed during the bloody Ayawaso West Wuogon by-elections held January 31, 2019.
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This is to acknowledge receipt of your most recent letter, dated 11`” March, 2019, and thank you for its contents. My response to it is in two parts.
Firstly, I note that you have, quite properly, given a copy of It to the Chairperson of the New Patriotic Party, Mr. Freddie Blay. I have asked him to respond to its contents, since he is the rightful person to speak directly for the New Patriotic Party, and I expect that he will do so promptly.
Secondly, since the constitutional responsibility of maintaining law and order in our country is that of the Executive, i.e. the President of the Republic, 1 have, in line with my pronouncement to Parliament during the Message on the State of the Nation on 21′ February, 2019, instructed the Attorney General, without prejudice to the outcome of the engagement, if any, between the NPP and NDC, to prepare and submit to Parliament, as soon as possible, specific legislation to deal with the phenomenon of vigilantism, and provide appropriate sanctions against its occurrence.
I believe that the parliamentary process of enactment affords sufficient space for any citizen to make an input or contribution to the enactment of a good and effective law, whose implementation will enable us rid our nation of politically-related violence, a development that can only inure to the benefit of Ghanaian democracy and to the preservation of law and order.
Once again, I thank you for the expression of your commitment to ending the vigilante phenomenon in Ghana.