Nana Dr S. K. B. Asante, a Board Member of the National Peace Council (NPC), has expressed worry over the recent spate of attacks on the Council.
“I have been highly disturbed by the recent spate of scurrilous media and personal attacks on the integrity and performance of the NPC,” Nana Dr Asante stated in Accra.
Speaking at the inauguration of the National Monitoring Committee for the Implementation of Code of Conduct and Roadmap on political vigilantism, Nana Dr Asante stressed: “It is amazing that we should be subjected to this unfair treatment despite our sacrifices and worthy endeavours to pursue peace in the country, which have been internationally acclaimed.”
He noted that the public might not know that a stream of high powered delegations from other countries had visited the Council to study their techniques and experience; adding that “Our Chairman has been honoured with two international awards.
“In my respectful opinion these misinformed, but highly damaging criticisms stem from a failure to appreciate the scope of the NPC’s mandate”.
Nana Dr Asante said: “However, it is my considered opinion, that the NPC does not have the mandate to denounce the acts of any party to a dispute or any player in the political or communal arena.
“In my respectful submission, a careful analysis of NPC’s functions, as spelt out in sections 2 and 3 of the NPC Act 2011 (Act 818), does not disclose any such mandate”.
Section 2 states that; “The object of the Council is to facilitate and develop mechanisms for conflict prevention, management, resolution and to build sustainable peace in the country”.
He said it should be stressed that the primary and only function of the Council was to facilitate and develop mechanisms for conflict prevention, management and resolution and to build sustainable peace in the country.
Nana Dr Asante said this remit provides no basis for periodical and instant condemnation of any acts of any entity.
He noted that “denouncing” was clearly distinguishable from “facilitating and developing mechanisms for preventing, managing or resolving conflicts and building sustainable peace”.
Nana Dr Asante said the precise language of the NPC’s mandate scrupulously and meticulously avoids the power to denounce any party or acts or even the power to make a mandatory intervention in a conflict, including; the incidental power to condemn any party to such a conflict.
He intimated that the NPC, unlike a court of law, does not have the power to condemn any party or even issue an indictment against any entity; stating that “such a line of operation is essentially repugnant to the especially facilitative and mediatory role of the Council”.
He said apart from the limitations imposed by the NPC Act, it would be highly inappropriate and, indeed, counterproductive, if the NPC issued an indictment on sighting any viral video or hearing any allegation of unbecoming conduct.
He said nobody expects such reaction from the Police, the courts or the Attorney-General, adding that the same restraint should be expected from the NPC.
“It is my view that by accusing us of selective treatment and urging the Council to condemn allegedly wrongful acts from time to time, the political actors and the media are gradually embroiling us in activities which are well beyond our remit and which are bound to be counterproductive.”
He noted that public should expect the Council to deliver instant judgements, where it would take a whole Commission of Enquiry or a court of law, months or if not years, to make a pronouncement on the subject matter of a dispute or conflict.
“I know that members of the NPC are honourable men and women of impeachable integrity, – persons who are held in high esteem, and who are genuinely and conscientiously contributing to the peace and development of our country,” Nana Dr Asante said.
“They deserve respect and approbation not persistent vile attacks.”
Mr George Amoh, the Executive Secretary, NPC, urged political parties to ensure compliance with the Code of Conduct.