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I’ll legislate to ban vigilante groups if… -President

President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has threatened to initiate a legislation to disband private security groups associated with political parties, if the parties fail to dissolve such groups. 

He has, therefore, called on the leadership of the major political parties in the country to come together, possibly next week, to find a common solution to the problem.

The President’s comment comes in the wake of the recent violence at the by-election at Ayawaso West Wuogon Constituency in Accra and the attack on some members of the NDC in Kumasi by some unknown assailants, leaving one person dead. 

The recent violence, as well as several others in the past, are allegedly perpetrated by private security groups, popularly known as vigilante groups, associated with political parties.

In an address on the state of the nation before Parliament yesterday, President Akufo-Addo described the situation as worrying and unacceptable and called on the main parties to end the phenomenon from the country’s body politic.

“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.”

“Mr Speaker, 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 happen under my watch. Our forebears paid too high a price, with their blood and toil, to bequeath to us this beautiful nation; the lives of our citizens are too precious to waste,” he said.

President Akufo-Addo said by-elections in the country in recent times had been characterised by violence and cited the by-elections at Akwatia, Atiwa, Chereponi, Talensi and Amenfi West as examples.

He explained that the Commission of Inquiry investigating the Ayawaso violence had been established, among other things, to help chart a path to ending politically-related violence in the country. 

The events of last Monday, in Kumasi, where a meeting of the national and regional executives of the opposition NDC was broken up by acts of violence, leading to the tragic death of a citizen, the President said, had reinforced the urgent need to find the path. 

President Akufo-Addo said he had asked the leadership of the NPP to extend an invitation to the leadership of the NDC for a meeting to find a common solution to the issue of political party vigilantism. 

He added that the security services would be on standby to offer assistance to the meeting.

By Yaw Kyei and Julius Yao Petetsi

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