Akufo-Addo, Mahama to sign peace pact ahead of 2020 elections
Presidential candidates of the country’s two leading parties are expected to sign a peace pact aimed at promoting peace before, during and after the December 7 polls.
President Nana Akufo-Addo the candidate of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) and his main contender from the NDC, former President John Dramani Mahama, are expected to sign the agreement on December 3, 2020.
Dubbed Presidential Elections Peace Pact (PEPP), the signatories would commit to non-violence, pledge to resort to the judicial process to seek redress in case of disputes and work towards eradicating vigilantism.
The pact follows a similar one signed in Kumasi in 2016. The 2020 agreement is being facilitated by the National Peace Council, the National House of Chiefs, Office of the National Chief Imam and the Insitute of Democratic Development.
It comes on the back of a National Peace Council-led dialogue which led to the adoption of a road map for the eradicating vigilante violence in Ghana.
The Executive Director of the IDEG, Dr Emmanuel Akwetey, told the Daily Graphic that the objective of the high-level meeting (HLM) which would precede the signing of the PEPP was to convene national leaders who, as peers, would deliberate on the threat of electoral violence to the peace, security and welfare of the whole country.
He said the signing of the PEPP would serve as an instrument for political leaders to demonstrate integrity and a commitment to pursue the path of justice in electoral disputes and avoid electoral violence.
The signatories would also commit themselves to work collectively to eradicate electoral violence, impunity and injustice and consolidating peace and democratic stability in Ghana.
The NDC and the NPP NPP this year signed a Code of Conduct to ensure implementation of the road map.
Both parties have committed to seeing out the ban on party militia after President Akufo-Addo assented the Vigilantism and Related Offences Bill 2019, which parliament passed in July 2019.
The National Peace Council subsequently outlined a detailed Code of Conduct and roadmap to ensure that parties are devoid of any affiliated militia.
The banning of vigilante groups in both parties followed a clash between National Security personnel and some supporters of the National Democratic Congress during the Ayawaso West Awuogon by-election on January 31, 2019.
The by-election to replace the late Member of Parliament for the constituency, Emmanuel Kyeremanteng Agyarko, was marred by a shooting incident at the residence of Kwasi Delali Brempong, the National Democratic Congress (NDC) candidate.
It resulted in injuries to 18 persons and an assault on an observer at one of the polling stations.
At the La Bawaleshie School Park, the NDC MP for Ningo Prampram, Samuel Nartey George, who was observing the elections, was assaulted by a national security personnel.
The incident also resulted in the opposition party directing its agents to withdraw from the various polling stations.
National Security had explained that it had intelligence a vigilante group of the NDC was hoarding a cache of arms in the residence of the NDC parliamentary candidate.
The security personnel had an operation to retrieve the weapons. But after the skirmishes, the operation was abandoned.
In response to the incident, President Nana Akufo-Addo set up the Emile Short Commission to investigate the chaos.
The incident stirred concerns about the activities of vigilante groups. Even before the Short Commission submitted its report, the government sent to Parliament a bill ban outlaw vigilante groups.
The Commission in April 2019 submitted its report and among other things recommended the dissolution of the SWAT team at the National Security Council Secretariat.
In September 219, President Akufo-Addo assented to the Vigilantism and Related Offences Act, 2019, which bans acts of vigilantism in Ghana, disbands vigilante groups, including political party vigilante groups and land guards.
According to the law, “a person who directly or indirectly instigates or solicits the activity of a vigilante, facilitates or encourages vigilantism, or conceals a vigilante to avoid lawful arrest, commits an offence, and is liable, on conviction, to a term of imprisonment of not less than ten (10) years and not more than fifteen (15) years.”