Discussants at a post-election stakeholders’ review workshop of the 2020 presidential and parliamentary elections, have called on the Attorney General and Minister of Justice to develop a Legislative Instrument (LI) to guide the implementation of the Vigilantism and Related Offences Act 2019 (Act 999).
They also urged the National Peace Council (NPC) to work with the leading political parties to resolve the disagreement on whether government should be a signatory to the Code of Conduct to disband politically-affiliated vigilante groups or not, stressing that “the disagreement should not delay the implementation of the road map.”
In a communiqué issued at the end of the Coalition of Domestic Election Observers (CODEO) organised stakeholders review workshop, the discussants called on the NPC, the National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE) and Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) to intensify education on the Vigilantism and Related Offences Act of 2019, Act 999 and publicise the provisions and sanctions in the Act.
Representatives from the EC, the National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE), the National Peace Council (NPC), the National Media Commission (NMC), the Ghana Police Service, the Judiciary and some political parties attended the three-day workshop.
The Code of Conduct and road map to ending political vigilantism was developed by a technical committee following a series of dialogues organised by the National Peace Council.
The move was necessitated by happenings at the Ayawaso West Wuogon by-elections in 2019.
The vigilantism and related offences law bans acts of vigilantism in Ghana, disbands vigilante groups, including political party vigilante groups and land guards.
The participants also entreated the Ghana Police Service to review the security arrangements at collation centres for future elections and communicate same to stakeholders.
“The National Election Security Task Force (NESTF)/GPS should strictly implement the Standing Operating Procedures (SOPs) in the deployment of the military during the election year and particularly on election day.”
“Largely, the military must remain as a stand-by force and deployed as a last resort. The deployment of the military in some circumstances during the 2020 election, including the deployment to Parliament in January 2021, should not be repeated,” the participants noted.
They also urged the National Elections Security Task Force (NESTF) and the police to take proactive steps to inform the public about the steps that they were taking in investigating and prosecuting election-related crimes and provide periodic updates on all reported cases.
The participants also appealed to the government to equip the National Media Commission (NMC) to monitor the media landscape and produce regular reports on journalistic standards in the media.
“The National Communication Authority (NCA) and the NMC must review the processes for allocating frequencies to ensure more transparency and public trust,” they said.
They urged the NCA and NMC to also pay serious attention to the emerging forms of content delivery platforms (Over the Top- OTT Services) that were outside regular broadcasting regime that required oversight and regulation.
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