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Peace Council calls for review of mandate to reflect current demands

Peace Council
Reverend Dr Ernest Adu-Gyamfi speaking at the event.

The National Peace Council (NPC) has called for a review of the National Peace Council Act 2011 (Act 818) to broaden its mandate to meet the demands of the public.

Act 818 establishes the NPC as an independent state mechanism to facilitate the prevention of conflicts.

The Council said it had noted over the period that the public expected it to take swift action, including arresting and prosecuting persons who make comments or engage in activities that could undermine the peace of the country.

Reverend Dr Ernest Adu-Gyamfi, the Chairman of the NPC, speaking to journalists at a peace dialogue with political parties in Accra on Wednesday, said the Council was “restrained” by the Act and could not act above its mandate of putting in mechanisms to manage, prevent and resolve conflicts.

Reverend Dr Ernest Adu-Gyamfi (seated second left) in a group photograph with dignitaries and participants at the event.

“We do not have the mandate to arrest or prosecute. Meanwhile, the public is looking for those things. So, there is the need to review the Act then to see what else we can do in the midst of the demands from the public,” he said.

Rev Dr Adu-Gyamfi said the Board of the NPC was engaging the Judicial Service to explore the best ways to review the Act.

The engagement was the 2024 first quarter meeting with political parties under the Political Party Trust Building Programme.

The meeting adopted the recommendations of the Peduase stock-taking Conference on December 14, 2023, and discussed measures to ensure responsible campaigning ahead of the 2024 General Election.

Rev Dr Adu-Gyamfi said the main goal of the NPC this year was to have peaceful elections and an outcome that would be acceptable to all stakeholders.

He said the Council would continue to engage the political parties beyond the planned quarterly meetings and build the capacity of both National and Regional Executives of the political parties to enable them address intra and inter-party conflicts.

“The Council plans to embark on a nationwide advocacy campaign against electoral violence and will focus on eliminating the re-emergence of the activities of political vigilantism.

“To achieve this, the Council will sensitise citizens, particularly youth groups within the political space on the Guidelines on Hate Speech and Other Forms of Indecent Language, the Vigilantism and Related Offences Act 2019, (Act 999) and the need for political tolerance,” Rev Adu Gyamfi said.

During the discussions, the political parties encouraged the NPC to collaborate with the National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE) to do more on peace advocacy and constantly engage the public and the various stakeholders.

They also expressed concern over the monetisation of elections at all levels and bemoaned the effect of the phenomenon on the country’s democratic process.

Dr Louisa Hanna Bissiw, National Women’s Organiser, National Democratic Congress (NDC), said justice must prevail in all matters to prevent people from taking actions that could undermine the peace of the country.

She said security agencies and institutions involved in the electoral process must be accountable to the people and build trust.

Hajia Safia Mohammed, Deputy National Women’s Organiser, New Patriotic Party (NPP), rallied all political parties to campaign and practice peace in the lead up to the presidential and parliamentary elections.

“Let’s get the opinion leaders and the clergy on board. Elections are won on accountability and record and that should be the message,” she said.

Source: GNA

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