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I Will Decisively Arrest Vigilantism with the Rule of Law– President Akufo-Addo

President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has re-affirmed his commitment to deal with the upsurge of vigilantism that has rocked the country of late.

 

According to the President, he “will not walk the path others trod who found it convenient to turn a blind eye to the criminal misdeeds of their followers and took no action as it would displease them.”

 

Addressing a meeting of the National House of Chiefs in Kumasi, Monday, President Akufo-Addo hinted that his government would tackle the menace head-on, adding, he was convinced to “walk the path of making reality the principle of the rule of law, the idea of equality of every citizen before the law”.

 

President Akufo-Addo noted that  wrongdoers wear no political colours, “they are just wrongdoers, and will be dealt with as such” urging the Chiefs  to speak out and join Government in the “fight against the ills of our society – corruption, social and economic injustice, crime and the illegal mining menace, popularly referred to as galamsey.

 

President Akufo-Addo said the country had gone through very difficult times in recent years, and as a result, majority of Ghanaians were compelled to “find ways and means to keep body and soul together, and, as a result, engaged themselves in illegal activities, such as galamsey.

 

“As Chiefs, you have a responsibility, as was done in the days of our forefathers, to help preserve our lands, water bodies and environment. We all have a responsibility to say no to galamsey for our own common survival and the survival of those who are to come. If we allow it, we are jeopardising both our present and our future. Our responsibility in this is clear,” he added. 

 

As customary custodians of the moral of the country’s regions and towns, President Akufo-Addo asserted that, it was the responsibility of Chiefs to assist government in dealing the defilement of children, which has been on the increase in country.

 

“Such cases cannot be treated as “family matters”. Again, instances where youths take the law into their own hands, vandalising properties, can no longer continue, and must be condemned by all. Perpetrators of such acts must be handed over to the law enforcement agencies for the laws of the land to take their course. Senior citizens should not be seen to be making special pleas for such perpetrators,” the President stressed. 

 

President Akufo-Addo urged the Chiefs to criticise him by pointing out his mistakes and not unduly praise him as “It would be equally tempting to tell me that I am the best thing that ever happened to Ghana.

 

The President added that, “it would be even more tempting to tell me to ignore my critics. I expect that, as our esteemed Traditional Rulers, you will not go down that road, but will allow the moral authority of your status to justify your interventions,” he added.

 

By the same token, President Akufo-Addo urged the Chiefs and Queen Mothers to discard those outmoded customs and practices that infringes on the human rights of their subjects, especially those that discriminate against women and children.

 

“It is difficult, for example, to find a scientific, legitimate reason to justify some of the widowhood rites that persist, today, among many ethnic groups in the country.

 

With the hindsight of Ghana’s 1992 Constitution which forbids Chiefs to engage in partisan political activity, President Akufo-Addo said that Chiefs involvement in the public life of the country derives naturally from their position as traditional rulers.

 

Invariably, President Akufo-Addo said it was his hope that members of the National House of Chiefs would help set the tone in their areas of influence to help realise government’s vision for a prosperous and progressive Ghana.

 

“I would, therefore, appeal to you to lend your voice in support of the regional and local government reforms being undertaken by my Government, i.e. the creation of new regions in accordance with popular aspirations, the direct election by their people of Metropolitan, Municipal and District Chief Executives and creation of new districts and the upgrading of some existing ones into municipalities. Government is determined to bring governance closer to the people, and expand the boundaries of democracy in our country,” the President said.

 

He continued, “We are counting on you to help shape and integrate yourselves into these developments, so that the peculiarly Ghanaian contribution to the concept of governance, which emanates from the integration of royal, aristocratic institutions into the fabric of a republican, democratic framework, will be enhanced and strengthened to the benefit of the Ghanaian people.”

 

Source: ISD (Rex Mainoo Yeboah)