Former President Jerry John Rawlings has said that President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo’s State of the Nation Address (SoNA) was “disarming.”
Mr Akufo-Addo said, if the two main political parties – the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP) and the main opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) do not voluntarily meet to fashion out ways to disband their vigilante groups, he would apply legislation to disband them himself.
The president has, therefore, appealed to the leadership of the NPP and the NDC to meet over the matter and voluntarily disband all vigilante groups affiliated to them.
Delivering his third state of the nation address in parliament on Thursday, 21 February 2019, Nana Akufo-Addo said: “I want to make a sincere passionate appeal to the leaders of the two main political parties in our country – NPP and NDC – to come together as soon as possible, preferably next week, to agree on appropriate measures to bring an end to this worrying and unacceptable phenomenon of vigilantism in our body politic”.
Reacting to Mr Akufo-Addo’s comments, Mr Rawlings told the political parties to “heed the call to join forces in combating the scourge of party militias and violent vigilantism”.
President @NAkufoAddo‘s #SONA2019 was disarming. I do hope the NDC @OfficialNDCGh and the NPP @NPP_GH will heed the call to join forces in combating the scourge of party militias and violent vigilantism.
— Jerry John Rawlings (@officeofJJR) February 21, 2019
Mr Akufo-Addo’s comments come on the heels of calls from the Ghana Police Service, religious leaders, civil society organisations and Ghanaians in general for the NPP and NDC to disband their vigilante groups.
While the Invincible Forces and Delta Forces have been linked to the NPP, The Hawks, Lions and Dragons have been linked to the NDC.
These groups, made up of well-built gun-wielding men, have over the years visited mayhem on ordinary citizens in the name of protecting ballot boxes during elections.
They also engage in acts of violence in their attempt to get what they believe they deserve as promised them by politicians.