Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) have urged the President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo to extend the time frame of the Commission of Enquiry to enable them have adequate time to conduct a thorough investigation into the Ayawaso violence.
The CSOs were the Civic Forum Initiative (CFI), the Institute of Democratic Governance (IDEG), Coalition of Domestic Election Observers (CODEO), and the Centre for Democratic Development (CDD).
A statement jointly signed by Major General Nii Carl Coleman (Retired), the Chairperson of CFI, Mr Kwesi Jonah, a Senior Research Fellow of IDEG, Professor Miranda Greenstreet, the Chairperson of CODEO and Professor H. Kwasi Prempeh, the Executive Director of CDD and copied to the Ghana News Agency said the recommendation was made at an emergency meeting.
The meeting was to review the scrutiny situation following the violence that occurred at La Bawaleshie during the Ayawaso West Wuogon constituency by-election on January 31, 2019.
The statement said after an exhaustive evaluation of the political and security environment prevailing in the country after the electoral violence, the organisations noted the growing threat of thuggery and hooliganism of illegally armed groups euphemistically referred to as political vigilante groups within the ranks of the two major political parties in Ghana.
It also observed the total condemnation by political parties, civil society organisations and the international community of the violence perpetrated by state security personnel during the by-election.
The statement noted the concerns expressed by the National Democratic Congress (NDC) and its Minority group in Parliament about the composition as well as implications of the Commission of Enquiry appointed to investigate the Constituency by-election violence.
The organisations, therefore, called on the Council of State, National Peace Council, National House of Chiefs, Religious leaders and all well-meaning Ghanaians to prevail on the two major political parties to immediately dissolve and discontinue the formation and operation of illegal armed political vigilante groups, the statement added.
It also appealed to the NDC, in the national interest, to seriously re-consider its position of non-cooperation with the Commission.
The statement advised the Commission of Enquiry to operate in a transparent and open manner to allay the fears of all who had expressed concerns about its establishment.
It also appealed to the citizenry to take a keen interest and offer their full support to the work of the Commission of Enquiry and protect the peace and democratic stability the nation had enjoyed in the Fourth Republic as it awaits the 2020 general elections.
“To demonstrate our commitment to supporting good faith efforts to deal with the threat of illegally armed groups, we would be engaging principal national stakeholders to discuss ways to work together to deal with issues,” the statement said.
“In addition, we will hold ourselves in readiness to offer any help that the Commission may require for it to succeed. We call on all Ghanaians to support these initiatives towards peace and stability”.