Former president Jerry John Rawlings has commended President Akufo-Addo for his call on political party leaders to disband vigilante groups within their setup.
Delivering his third State of the Nation Address in Parliament Thursday, President Akufo-Addo gave the leadership of the New Patriotic Party and the National Democratic Congress up to next week to dialogue over the issue else he will initiate legislation against vigilantism.
“I want to use the platform of this Message to make a sincere, passionate appeal to the leaders of the two main political parties in our country, NPP and NDC, to come together, as soon as possible, preferably next week, to agree on appropriate measures to bring an end to this worrying and unacceptable phenomenon of vigilantism in our body politic.
“I have asked the leadership of the NPP to extend an invitation to the leadership of the NDC for such a meeting on vigilantism. The security services of the country will be on standby to assist this meeting.
“If voluntary disbandment by the parties is not feasible, then I will initiate legislation on the matter. Vigorous debate and the exchange of ideas should be the true basis of political dialogue and competition in our country, not the activities of party vigilante groups. What was tolerated over the years cannot and must not be accepted anymore. We must not take our peace and security for granted— not for a moment. Our children and grandchildren will not forgive us if we were to compromise our peace and stability. I will not permit that to occur under my watch,” the President noted.
In a tweet, Rawlings urged the political parties to take the directive to ensure that the country’s peace is not disturbed.
A three-member Commission of Inquiry is currently probing the violence that characterized the by-election held in the Ayawaso West Wuogon Constituency on Thursday, January 31, 2019.
The Chairman of the Commission is Justice Emile Short, former head of the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ), the other members are Mrs. Henrietta Mensah Bonsu, legal luminary and jurist, and Mr. Patrick K. Acheampong, former Inspector General of Police. Mr. Ernest Kofi Abotsi, former Dean of the Faculty of Law of GIMPA and a private legal practitioner, will serve as Secretary to the Commission.