The two dominant political parties in Ghana, ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP) and opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) agreed here in principle on Tuesday to work together to eliminate violent thugs from their party activities.
The two parties pledged at their maiden meeting here to disband all forms of vigilante groups within or associated to their parties.
The National Peace Council which mediated in the first round of talks between the parties revealed in a statement that the leadership of the parties had agreed that militia groups were inimical to the growth of the country’s democratic journey.
“After an open and exhaustive deliberation, the parties agreed that vigilantism is inimical to Ghana’s democratic system and must be eradicated,” the statement disclosed.
In respect of the immediate focus of the dialogue, the statement added: “The NDC is of the view that it should be the eradication of ‘political vigilantism in all its ramifications’ while the NPP is of the opinion that the focus should be ‘political party vigilantism in all its ramifications.”
In his State of the Nation Address (SONA) to parliament in February President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo called on the two leading parties to have a dialogue on how to curb the growing incidence of political party vigilantism in the country.
This followed several incidents of violence perpetrated by party vigilantes since the end of the 2016 general election.
While the ruling party was represented by its chairman Freddy Blay, the NDC was also represented by its chairman Samuel Ofosu-Ampofo.
Among many other steps, the two parties agreed to the disbanding of vigilante groups operating within political parties or for political purposes as well as prohibiting the ownership, hiring, or utilization of such groups by the political parties or their members.
Analysts have been worried that the growing culture of political violence occasioned by the creeping in of thugs into the political party structure could wreck Ghana’s image as an oasis of peace and stable democracy in a sub-region known for civil strife. Enitem