Respect legislation on electoral violence – Peace Council to political parties

The National Peace Council is asking the two major political parties in the country; the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP) and opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) to commit to the road map and code of conduct to ending political vigilantism in Ghana ahead of the upcoming polls.

This advice follows the recent violent clashes that occurred at the Odododiodoo constituency of the Greater Accra Region that left 15 persons injured.

In a statement, the Peace Council condemned the acts of violence perpetrated by supporters of the two parties and tasked their leadership to work towards ensuring law and order in the area.

It also observed that both the NPP and NDC ought to “respect the existing legal framework for addressing issues of electoral violence. The National Peace Council and its partners urge the leadership of the NDC and NPP to resort to the laid down mechanisms under the Code of Conduct to resolving any misunderstanding”.

The Peace Council has therefore asked the parliamentary candidates of the two factions to use proper means to have their scores settled.

“The Peace Council also calls on the NDC and NPP parliamentary candidates in the Odododiodio Constituency to show leadership. They should avail themselves and resort to dialogue to address their political differences”, the statement added.

Read the Peace Council’s full statement below:

The National Peace Council as part of its mandate to facilitate and develop mechanisms for conflict prevention, management resolution and to build sustainable peace in Ghana expresses great concern about the incidence of violence that occurred on Sunday 25 October 2020 at Jamestown in the Odododiodio Constituency of Greater Accra. The Peace Council strongly condemns the clashes between the supporters of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) and the National Democratic Congress (NDC) resulting from a “Health Walk”, which led to rioting, violence and shooting with 15 persons allegedly sustaining various degrees of injuries with some hospitalized.

These acts of violence cast a shadow on the upcoming December elections and must be rejected by all particularly in an era when the major political parties have signed on to the Code of Conduct and Roadmap towards the eradication of political and election-related violence in Ghana. The National Peace Council condemns the violent acts which occurred and calls upon the leadership of NDC and NPP in the Odododiodio Constituency to call their followers to order.

Our Observations

Following the clash at Odododiodio Constituency, the Monitoring Committee of the National Peace Council set up to monitor compliance with the Code of Conduct held an emergency meeting that discussed, analysed and recommended ways of avoiding such threats to the December 2020 elections and beyond. At the meeting the Committee observed the following:

1. That the NDC and NPP should respect the Roadmap and the Code of Conduct towards the eradication of political vigilantism and the Code of Conduct which they signed up as part of their commitments towards ending political violence in Ghana. It is therefore worrying that both political parties and their supporters will continue to engage in electoral violence.

2. That the NDC and NPP have a duty as to respect the existing legal framework for addressing issues of electoral violence. The National Peace Council and its partners urge the leadership of the NDC and NPP to resort to the laid down mechanisms under the Code of Conduct to resolving any misunderstanding.

3. While the National Peace Council commends the Ghana Police Service for the arrests so far made, it is also drawing the attention of the Police to act swiftly on intelligence in flashpoints Constituencies to prevent the future occurrence of the unfortunate situation ahead of the December elections.

Our Recommendations

The  Monitoring Committee on the Code of Conduct in the view of the above makes the following recommendations:

1. The National Peace Council continues to remind political parties, especially. NDC and NPP that they have publicly subscribed to a Roadmap and a Code of Conduct on the eradication of all kinds of political vigilantism and election-related violence. To this end, both NDC and NPP have declared publicly that political vigilantism is inimical to Ghana’s democratic system and must be eradicated. Consequently, they have both pledged to: I. Disbanding vigilante groups operating for political purposes: II. Prohibiting the ownership, hiring, or utilisation of such groups by the political parties or members thereof; and III. Cooperating with state agencies and stakeholders in the total eradication of such groups or incidents of vigilantism in the country. Any person who takes part in any vigilante activity acts as a member or subscribes to a membership of a vigilante group, contravenes provisions of the Act 999, and therefore commits an offence and is liable on conviction to a term of imprisonment of not less than ten years and not more than fifteen years.

2. The Peace Council urges the leadership of NDC and NPP in the Odododiodio Constituency to quickly call their supporters to order to exercise restraints in their actions henceforth. 3. The Peace Council also calls on the NDC and NPP parliamentary candidates in the Odododiodio Constituency to show leadership. They should avail themselves and resort to dialogue to address their political differences.

4. The National Peace Council calls on the Ghana Police Service to be more proactive in responding to potential threats to election security. It is in this respect that the National Peace Council calls on the Inspector General of Police and the Ghana Police Service to rise up to the occasion as they usually do. to speedily investigate and prosecute all culprits, to serve as a deterrent to others whose actions and inactions have the potential to derail the peace of the country before, during and after 2020 general election. The Police should always be guided by their motto “Service with Integrity” to ensure that human lives and properties are protected by enforcing the laws without fear or favour.

5. The Peace Council calls on Ghanaians, especially party supporters to refrain from resorting to violence in settling their political differences. While the National Peace Council campaigns for peace citizens ought to appreciate that peace-building is teamwork and they have to do their part by refusing to use violence and rather go through the legal processes in resolving their differences.

Conclusion

The National Peace Council reminds all citizens especially, the youth to show patriotism and zealousness in building a peaceful nation. The future of Ghana is in your hands and you must safeguard this future by avoiding violence of every nature.

Thank you and God bless our homeland Ghana.

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