President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has responded to the chairman of the National Democratic Congress’s letter on the disbandment of vigilante groups and rejected claims that the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP) has enlisted party militia into the national security apparatus.
In a letter by the NDC chairman welcoming calls by President Akufo-Addo for a joint meeting between the two main political parties to fashion out solutions to end political party thuggery, the Mr Samuel Ofosu-Ampofo said they are “aware that the Commission [of Inquiry tasked to probe the Ayawaso West Wuogon by-election violence] established clearly that elements of the vigilante groups apparently sponsored by your party have already been absorbed into the national security system”.
Responding to the NDC’s letter, President Akufo-Addo said in a letter dated March 4, 2019, that the assertion by the opposition party was not true.
“Firstly, contrary to your assertion, no evidence has been established at the on-going Short Commission about the sponsorship by the New Patriotic Party of vigilantes into the national security system. No such sponsorship has taken place, and none will take place. In any event, it is surely prejudicial to the work of the Commission for citizens to start drawing conclusions on the material before the Commission, prior to the Commission making its own findings and recommendations on the matter,” Mr Akufo-Addo noted.
He further indicated that the NPP has no plans to employ the services of party militia in the upcoming general elections in 2020.
“Secondly, neither the Government nor the ruling New Patriotic Party have made any plans to ‘recruit party thugs for the 2020 general elections’. No such directive has been given, nor will any such directive be given, and no such recruitment is taking place. Neither the New Patriotic Party nor I need political party thugs to win the 2020 election. We will do so on the basis of our record, our argument and our values.”
Below is a full copy of President Akufo-Addo’s letter
Attn: NDC National Chairman, S. Ofosu-Ampofo
RE: PROPOSED MEETING OF NDC AND NPP ON DISBANDMENT OF POLITICAL VIGILANTISM: THE POSITION OF THE NDC
This is to acknowledge receipt of your letter dated 28th February 2019, setting out the position of the National Democratic Congress to the call I made in Parliament in my Message on the State of the Nation on 21st February, 2019, for a dialogue between the New Patriotic Party and the National Democratic Congress on the disbandment of party vigilante groups.
I am encouraged by the positive nature of the response, indicating your awareness, in your own words, that “in principle that a serious national effort be made to address this problem once and for all”, and your readiness, again in your own words, that “we will therefore avail ourselves of the opportunity whenever at the pleasure of Your Excellency and at a venue convenient for the purpose.” These are, as I have said, encouraging words that reassure the people of Ghana that there is a will to rid our nation of this worrying phenomenon.
Before I respond to the substance of your requests in your letter, it is important for the record that I deal with certain, obvious misrepresentations and mis¬statements, if not palpable falsehoods, that form part of the letter.
Firstly, contrary to your assertion, no evidence has been established at the on¬going Short Commission about the sponsorship by the New Patriotic Party of vigilantes into the national security system. No such sponsorship has taken place, and none will take place. In any event, it is surely prejudicial to the work of the Commission for citizens to start drawing conclusions on the material before the Commission, prior to the Commission making its own findings and recommendations on the matter.
Secondly, neither the Government nor the ruling New Patriotic Party have made any plans to “recruit party thugs for the 2020 general elections.” No such directive has been given, nor will any such directive be given, and no such recruitment is taking place. Neither the New Patriotic Party nor I need political party thugs to win the 2020 election. We will do so on the basis of our record, our argument and our values.
On the matter of the impact of the dialogue on the work of the Short Commission, I see no conflict, and I cannot see how the work of the Commission can be compromised by a voluntary dialogue between the two main political parties in our country.
Now to the substance of the letter. You have made two requests.
Firstly, to extend the call for a disbandment not only to the New Patriotic Party and the National Democratic Congress, but to “all political parties, civil society organisations, representatives of the media, representatives of the military, police and other security agencies, as well as other relevant stakeholders”. I am not aware of any vigilante groups that are associated with any of these bodies, as your letter suggests. Political party vigilante activity in the country has, unfortunately, been associated with the National Democratic Congress and the New Patriotic Party. I, thus, see little basis for your request.
Secondly, your request for mediators and facilitators of the dialogue. I am dismayed, and I believe that the Ghanaian people share my dismay, that the two parties who have dominated and continue to dominate the politics of the Fourth Republic, who between them have garnered at least 95% of the votes in each of the seven (7) general elections of the Fourth Republic, who have provided all seven (7) Governments of the Fourth Republic, who are the only parties currently represented in the Seventh Parliament of the Fourth Republic, cannot meet to dialogue on matters of our nation’s governance and political culture, without the intervention of outsiders, including foreign entities, no matter how well-meaning.
I had hoped that the proposed meeting would be without preconditions on either side. I am aware that Mr. Freddie Blay, Chairperson of the New Patriotic Party, has made an initial contact with you about the holding of the proposed meeting. My own view is that that meeting should take place as soon as possible, and all matters ventilated there, and the outcome of the meeting or meetings will be appropriately addressed. It is important that we trust in our own capabilities to resolve our own problems. Government stands ready to provide a venue, if it is the wish of the parties.
Once again, I thank you for your letter, and I am hopeful that we can all work together to achieve a positive result for our country, and spare it the unnecessary consequences and traumas of vigilantism.
Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC
THE NATIONAL DEMOCRATIC CONGRESS
CC: The Chairman, New Patriotic Party, Accra.
The Chairman, National Peace Council, Accra.