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Bill to address vigilantism laid before parliament

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A bill to ban political party vigilantism has been laid before parliament by Attorney General Gloria Akufo

The bill known as vigilantism and related offences bill when passed will disband activities of political party vigilantism.

This comes despite ongoing mediation efforts between the two main political parties – New Patriotic Party (NPP) and the National Democratic Congress (NDC) to disband their vigilante groups.

The speaker of Parliament Prof Mike Oquaye referred the bill to the constitutional, legal and parliamentary affairs committee to be considered under a certificate of urgency.

Minority leader Haruna Iddrisu, however, questioned the need for the bill to be rushed through under a certificate of emergency.

The National Peace Council in a recent communiqué said the NPP and NDC have committed to eliminating party-affiliated militia groups in the country.

After their first meeting on Tuesday, 9 April 2019 to that end, following a call on them by President Nana Akufo-Addo to do so, the Peace Council, which mediated the preliminary talks, and the two parties signed a communiqué that read thus: “The National Peace Council met with key members of the two main political parties in Ghana, namely the National Democratic Congress (NDC) and the New Patriotic Party (NPP) in response to a call by the President of the Republic of Ghana Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo in his state of the nation address to eradicate political vigilantism.

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“After an open and exhaustive deliberation, the parties agreed that vigilantism is inimical to Ghana’s democratic system and must be eradicated.

“With respect to the immediate focus of the mediation or dialogue, the NDC is of the view that it should be the eradication of ‘political vigilantism in all its ramifications’ while the NPP is of the opinion that the focus should be ‘political party vigilantism in all its ramifications’.

“Significantly though, both parties agree to engage in deliberations aimed at:

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1. disbanding vigilante groups operating within political parties or for political purposes

2. prohibiting the ownership, hiring, or utilisation of such groups by the political parties or members thereof

3. cooperating with state agencies and stakeholders in the total eradication of such groups or incidents of vigilantism in the country

“It should be noted that the two parties are also committed to exploring other processes in relation to the elimination of vigilantism”.

The two Chairmen of the NDC and NPP, respectively, Mr Samuel Ofosu-Ampofo and Mr Freddie Blay, signed on behalf of their parties.

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