2019 CIVIL SOCIETY ORGANIZATION SUSTAINABILITY INDEX - GHANA
2019 CIVIL SOCIETY ORGANIZATION SUSTAINABILITY INDEX
For Ghana October 2020
OVERALL CSO SUSTAINABILITY: 4.2
The New Patriotic Party (NPP) government in Ghana served the third year of its four-year term in 2019. President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo outlined his main policies in his third state-of-the-nation address at the Parliament House in February. His proposals included amending Articles 55(3) and 243(1) of Ghana’s constitution to pave the way for the direct election of metropolitan, municipal, and district chief executives (MMDCEs) from candidates sponsored by political parties. The proposal was heavily debated amid concerns that partisan local elections would further polarize the country along tribal and political lines. A referendum on the amendment was scheduled for December 17, but on December 1, the president canceled the referendum and withdrew the proposed amendment, citing a lack of political consensus. This reversal elicited mixed reactions from civil society groups but was welcomed by the main opposition political party, the National Democratic Congress (NDC), which had campaigned vigorously against the amendment.
Another significant political development in 2019 was the outbreak of violence during the January 31 by-election to elect a new member of parliament for Ayawaso-West Wogon constituency after the incumbent died. Chaos erupted when masked vigilante groups wearing uniforms of national security forces and allegedly allied with the ruling party invaded some polling stations and attacked suspected opponents, injuring twenty-six people. CSOs and development partners condemned the bloodshed and called for a public investigation. In response to the outcry, the president established a four-member presidential commission of inquiry, which, six weeks later, submitted a report with recommendations to restructure the national security and police, disband the SWAT team of the National Security Council Secretariat, and punish those found to have violated the criminal code. The incident led to the passage of the Vigilante and Related Offenses Act, which bans acts of vigilantism in the country.
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