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The main opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) has been accused of making deliberate efforts to frustrate the proposed dialogue between the party and the New Patriotic Party on how to end the scourge of political violence in Ghana.

The main opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) has been accused of making deliberate efforts to frustrate the proposed dialogue between the party and the New Patriotic Party on how to end the scourge of political violence in Ghana.

The meeting, proposed by the President, is designed to seek ways to end the activities of militia groups associated with the two parties.

According to Nana Obiri Boahen, a deputy general secretary of the NPP, the NDC has adopted a lackadaisical attitude towards efforts being made by the NPP to bring them to the table to discuss the matter.

In his recent State of the Nation Address, President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo ordered the NPP and NDC to launch a dialogue to agree a lasting solution to the problem of the militia groups linked to either party and to find a way to disband the groups.

Bad faith

However, in a letter to the President signed by its national chairman, Samuel Ofosu-Ampofo, the NDC demanded that certain conditions be fulfilled before the party, possibly, will meet the NPP to engage in dialogue.

The NDC mentioned the appointment of the National Peace Council to mediate between itself and the NPP on the matter. It also called for the inclusion of civil society groups, the media, the security agencies and other partners.

In an interview yesterday with the Daily Statesman, Nana Obiri Boahen said the posture adopted by the NDC “is part of a deliberate attempt to delay the proposed meeting”.

He said the opposition party acted in bad faith by writing to President Akufo-Addo to set out unilateral conditions for the proposed meeting.

“What the NDC is doing shows they are not genuinely ready for us to sit down to find a lasting solution to the menace of political vigilantism in the country, as proposed by the President.
“The President has said we should meet on the matter. Let us therefore meet, so that if you have some concerns as to how the process should go, then you table it before the meeting,” Nana Obiri Boahen said.

“Our national chairman called their national chairman, and in principle we agreed that we formalise the meeting. It was after that phone call that they came out with that letter.

“They are exhibiting bad faith. The letter they wrote was quite disingenuous, so it is not fair. They always want to create a scenario for people to run down politicians,” he lamented.

No conditions

According to Nana Obiri Boahen, it should not be the President’s duty to set out the conditions under which such a meeting between the two major political parties should take place.

“We, as the major political parties, have to meet to decide, so that if, for instance, we need a mediator, we should agree on who the mediator should be. It should be somebody or a group that will be acceptable to both parties.
“Again, if we feel others should be invited, we can settle this at the meeting. I expect our friends from the NDC to show commitment to this meeting, where all the issues of concern to them can be ironed out,” the NPP executive member said.

Ready to dissolve

Meanwhile, the Eastern Regional branches of both the NPP and the NDC have expressed their willingness to take steps to disband political militias in the region, once the national leaders of their parties have given them the go-ahead.

The NPP in the Eastern Region has a party vigilante group known as the Eagle Forces while the NDC runs the Eastern Mambas.

The NDC’s regional organiser, Hackman Kabore, told the Daily Statesman that the Eastern Mambas were formed not to cause mayhem, but to serve as a protection unit for the party.

However, Mr Kabore said the local party will wait and see what the outcome of “the national processes will be before taking a final decision on the matter”.

For his part, the NPP’s Eastern Regional secretary, Jeff Konadu Addo, said measures have already been put in place to address some of the functions assigned to the Eagle Forces.

He said members of the group are part of the NPP set-up who provide internal security for the party.

“They also help the party in other activities, such as keeping venues for party activities in shape and arranging rally grounds,” he said.

Both Mr Konadu and Mr Kabore have assured the public that as they await the discussion of the matter, they will keep their groups in check to prevent them from causing any disturbance.

It’s a must

In a related development, Ashanti Regional Minister Simon Osei-Mensah on Wednesday urged the NPP and NDC to use the 62nd Independence Day celebration as an opportunity to act on the President’s call to end political vigilantism in Ghana.

Speaking at the Jubilee Park in Kumasi at a ceremony to mark 6 March in the region, he pleaded with the two leading parties to put everything behind them and safeguard Ghana’s democratic credentials.

“I want to appeal to various stakeholders, especially members of the National Democratic Congress and the New Patriotic Party, to accept the President’s call for discussions on disbandment of vigilantism in our body politic,” Mr Osei-Mensah said. “This is because it poses a serious threat to our globally acclaimed democracy.”