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Mrs Theodora Williams Anti, the FOSDA Project Manager, said national security issues should be prioritised in the 2020 SONA to be delivered by President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo on the floor of Parliament on Thursday, February 20.
The SONA is in accordance with Article 67 of the 1992 Constitution of Ghana, which states: “The President shall, at the beginning of each session of Parliament and before the dissolution of Parliament, deliver a message on the State of the Nation.”
Speaking to the Ghana News Agency in Accra, Mrs Williams Anti said 2019 was quite a challenging period for Ghana with regards to security and accompanying safety indicators.
She said a number of incidences occurred that questioned the country’s security and political stability; citing the Ayawaso West Wuogon Parliamentary by-elections violence, Takoradi Girls’ kidnapping, high armed and violent crimes across the country, issues of civil unrest, and demand for cessation in some parts of the country.
Mrs Williams Anti said some of those incidences led to citizen mistrust and very low confidence in the security agencies, especially the police.
“On the other hand some successes were chalked with the installation of the King of Dagbon, Ya Naa Abukari Mahama II, which marked the end of the age-old Dagbon conflict,” she said.
“We recommend the President for swiftly tackling the issue of vigilantism as promised by legislation if dialogue does not prevail.”
She said the Foundation was, however, disappointed that the Government did not make much of the recommendations of the Justice Emile Shot Commission’s Report on the Ayawaso West Wuogon Parliamentary by-elections.
“Ahead of the 2020 general election, FOSDA is concerned that the environment is rife for political parties to deploy the so-called ‘vigilantes’ to protect their interests,” Mrs Williams Anti said.
“We expect that in the 2020 SONA, the President will highlight measures being put in place to enforce the Vigilantism and Related Offences Act 2019 to minimise violence before, during and after the election”.
“We expect the Government to show genuine concern and political will to the fight against vigilantism.”
Mrs Williams Anti said the Foundation would also want the Address to highlight government’s measures to professionalise the security services to improve public trust and confidence, especially in the Police Service.