Speed up dialogue towards disbandment of militia groups

eThe two main political parties, the New Patriotic Party and the National Democratic Congress, were last week expected to reach a consensus on how to disband militia groups affiliated to them.

President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, delivering the State of the Nation Address, in parliament the previous week, asked them to do so else he would legislate on it.

The timeline has elapsed but the two parties are yet to begin interactions to stamp out the canker from the country’s body politics to forestall the peace and security.

The Ghanaian Times has been following development and have taken notice of how religious bodies and traditional leaders continue to condemn the activities of militia groups and impress on the parties to disband them.

The latest to weigh in on the matter is the Ghana Catholic Bishops Conference, which says it is saddened by the lawlessness of the groups, describing them as a threat to the country’s tranquillity.

In the 2019 Lenten Pastoral Statement signed and issued by Most Reverend Philip Naameh, president of the conference and the Metropolitan Archbishop of Tamale, last weekend, urged the public to promote peace and security.

It is obvious from social media commentary, conversations in public transport and contributions via phone-in sessions on radio that Ghanaians have had enough of militia groups and want the status quo changed.

The shameful activities of the vigilantes have dominated public discourse at the expense of other pressing national issues.

It is in this vain that we have dedicated another editorial to this matter. It is time for the two political parties to take the bull by the horn and settle the matter once and for all.

We are aware of a letter from the NDC Chairman, Mr Samuel Ofosu-Ampofo, to President Nana Akufo-Addo, proposing that the National Peace Council be appointed as the mediator for the meeting between the two parties.

He also suggested that the Kofi Annan International Peace Training Centre (KAIPTC), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE) and the Institute for Democratic Governance (IDEG) join the efforts by the Peace Council.

We acknowledge the public comments and the commitment of the two parties towards ending the activities of the militia groups and we urge them to expedite action on the dialogue process for peace to prevail.

It is our fervent prayer that the two parties would find time to immediately meet. They should remember that delay in doing so would drain the enthusiasm they have gathered to conquer the canker.

The clock is ticking, election 2020 beckons, and we need to remove all the barriers to peace. Any party that wins the election would need peace to rule peacefully. The dialogue must begin. We do not have time.

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