Vigilantism bill lands in Parliament

Vigilantism bill lands in Parliament
Source: Ghana|| Oswald Azumah|
Date: 11-04-2019 Time: 01:04:18:pm
Members of pro NPP vigilante group, Delta Force stormed a High Court in Kumasi to free suspects on trial.

The Attorney-General has laid a bill before Parliament to specifically deal with politically related violence, known locally as political vigilantism.

Appearing in the House Thursday, Gloria Akuffo appealed to MPs to consider the bill under a certificate of urgency.

Gloria Akuffo@ Vetting 2017
Gloria Akuffo wants the vigilantism bill to be treated as urgent

Minority Leader, Haruna Iddrisu, however, argued vigilantism is an issue of grave national importance and should not be rushed through the House.

“I understand the President is in a hurry to deal with it but vigilantism is beyond the two biggest political parties – NDC and NPP – so there must be much wider stakeholder consultation on it,” Iddrisu said.

haruna iddrisu in parliament
The Minority Leader wants more stakeholder consultation on the bill

Speaking to Joy FM Midday news, Ranking Member on the Constitution, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Committee of Parliament,  Inussah Fuseini, expressed same sentiments.

He said a consensus should be built on how to deal with vigilantism instead of rushing a bill through Parliament.

Speaker of Parliament, Aaron Mike Ocquaye has, however, referred the bill to the appropriate Committee for a determination on whether it should be treated as an urgent item or not.

What prompted the bill?

President Nana Akufo-Addo promised during his State of the Nation Address in February to deal with the menace of vigilantism.

He directed the two biggest parties, NDC and NPP who have both been guilty of acts of political violence to meet and disband vigilante groups.

“If voluntary disbandment by the parties is not feasible, I would initiate legislation on the matter.” The President made headlines with his declaration which got thunderous applause from MPs.

Read: NPP, NDC commit to engage in militia disbandment talks

After initial delays, the meeting between the two parties finally came off under the guidance of the National Peace Council. But before then, President Akufo-Addo had direct the AG to draft a bill on the matter.

Ayawaso West Wuogon

On January 31, 2019 a by-election in Accra turned bloody after armed men stormed the residence of the NDC candidate, Delali Kwesi Brempong on voting day.

The NDC announced a withdrawal from the election and called for the results to be annulled after the NPP candidate won.

Following mass condemnation of the violence, President Akufo-Addo set up a Commission of Inquiry to investigate the causes of the disturbances and later promised to fix the menace when he appeared in Parliament.