The National Democratic Congress (NDC) described the anti-vigilantism Bill as misdirection by the government as it voiced concerns to Parliament’s Constitutional, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Committee.
In a May 17 letter sighted by Citi News, the NDC questioned the government’s commitment to overcoming political violence.
The opposition party holds the view that the proposed legislation will not adequately tackle political violence.
“The Bill does not begin to be an adequate response to the crisis of political violence in Ghana. It is difficult to avoid the conclusion that the Bill rather serves to distract the attention of civil society and the diplomatic community allowing the NPP to continue the build-up of its militia infrastructure.”
In the NDC’s view, the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP) seeks to continue its “infiltration of its thugs deeper and deeper into the national security apparatus” ahead of the 2020 elections.
President Nana Akufo-Addo, during the 2019 State of the Nation Address, called on the leadership of the NDC and NPP to meet and find a lasting solution to political violence.
This was after the Ayawaso West Wuogon by-election violence which necessitated the formation of a Commission of Enquiry, chaired by Justice Emile Short.
The NDC, in the letter, contended that the Ayawaso West Wuogon by-election was used as a staging ground “to test its state-managed militias in a rehearsal for 2020.”
It also expressed little faith in the avenues proposed for the elimination of political vigilante groups.
Though the NDC has partaken in the dialogue proposed by the President, it expressed dissatisfaction the National Peace Council for “opting for a research-led, multi-stakeholder process over direct mediation between the NPP and NDC.”
In addition, it said the government “is now trapped in legislative theatre compelled to use its Parliamentary majority to push through unnecessary and badly flawed legislation.”
The NDC maintains that the problem of political vigilante groups is a complex problem that requires more than legislation which “solves nothing.”
The NDC urged the President to instead publish the Short Commission report on the Ayawaso West Wuogon by-election.
The opposition party also urged the president to “support the National Peace Council to convene the proposed National Stakeholder Dialogue on Political Violence and Peaceful Social Engagement.”
“This will allow us as a nation to collectively interrogate the problem of political violence in greater breadth and depth that the Short Commission’s narrow terms of reference and structure…”