Former President Jerry John Rawlings wants the two main political parties in the country to heed the directive by President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo’s to disarm their militias.
During his State of the Nation Address to Parliament on Thursday, the President called on the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) and the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP) to meet over the phenomenon and agree on a road map to disband their armed groups.
Reacting in a tweet to the call, former President Rawlings expressed the hope that both the NDC and NPP will join forces to end the phenomenon that threatens Ghana’s security.
“I do hope the NDC … and the NPP … will heed the call to join forces in combating the scourge of party militias and violent vigilantism,” Mr Rawlings tweeted.
Delivering his third State of the Nation Address to Parliament, Nana Akufo-Addo charged NPP and NDC to begin to work together and propose solutions to the party militia nuisance in the country.
The President’s directive comes after a member of the pro-NDC militia group allegedly shot and killed one person at the party’s Kumasi regional office on Monday.
Another is said to be in critical condition at the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital after sustaining gunshot wounds.
The incident received swift condemnation from the public and civil society groups and President Akufo-Addo used his delivery to condemn the act, saying “the time has come to put an end to political violence in our system.”
“Our children and grandchildren will not forgive us if the country’s peace and security is undermined,” he added, charging the parties to meet by next week otherwise he will “I will initiate legislation on this matter.
The National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE) has welcomed the directive by the President to the two major political parties.
Chairperson of the Commission, Josephine Nkrumah said President Akufo-Addo’s directive is spot on and could not have come at a better time.
“We must commend the president for his bold statement to the effect that both parties should come to the table and begin a process of finding a solution to this problem.
“We did say at our press conference yesterday [Wednesday] that the president has taken some steps but we would like to see him be more emphatic in terms of his leadership in driving the process of disbanding party militia groups in this country and so for us, it is welcomed,” Ms Nkrumah said.
The Great Consolidated People’s Party (GCPP) has also said it was commendable that the President has personally asked the leadership of the NPP to write to the NDC to end the increasing threats of political vigilantism in Ghana.
“Mr President’s passionate call and assurance that the failure of the leadership of the two major political parties to end political-related violence as a result of vigilantism will compel him to initiate a Legislative Instrument to end the practice himself is worthy of commendation,” the party said in a statement.