Parliament postpones stakeholder engagement on Vigilante Bill

Parliament postpones stakeholder engagement on Vigilante Bill
Source: Ghana| | Naa Sakwaba Akwa | email:
Date: 23-04-2019 Time: 08:04:16:pm
Chairman of the Constitutional and Legal Affairs Committee said the Bill would have to wait

The passage of the Vigilante and Related Offences Bill 2019 will take longer than expected.

It had been hoped that the Bill will be passed into law on April 29 when Parliament resumes from recess, but it appears that will not happen.

A stakeholders meeting scheduled for April 24 to allow further consultations on the issue has been postponed and Joy News has learnt that it will be nearly impossible for both events to happen.

Chairman of Parliament’s Constitutional and Legal Affairs Committee, Ben Abdallah said the original plan has been scrapped to give the public enough time to study the Bill before it is passed.

“We want to give the public enough time to study the Bill in order that we can get enough memoranda as possible, the Committee had to postpone the holding of the stakeholder engagement to a date which is yet to be fixed,” he said.

He explained that Parliament when it resumes, will consider another equally urgent bill – Companies Bill – but could not tell when the Vigilante Bill will be deliberated on.

“The Companies Bill was started before Parliament went on recess, it is also as urgent as the Vigilantism Bill. We will deal with the Companies Bill on 21, 29 through to May 2 and we will have to deal with other matters but as to whether we will be able to deal with the Vigilantism Bill, I am not able to tell now.”

Attorney-General, Gloria Akuffo sent the Bill to Parliament on April 11.

The Attorney-General, Gloria Akuffo laid the Vigilante and Related Offences Bill 2019 in Parliament under a certificate or urgency two weeks ago.

Once passed into an Act, the Bill will see to the disbandment of political party vigilante groups and prohibit the formation of such.

The purpose of the Bill is to disband political party vigilante groups and forbid acts of such nature in the country, following the continuous violence that has characterised the country’s by-elections.

By-elections in Atiwa, Akwatia, Chereponi, Talensi, Amenfi West and more recently Ayawaso West Wuogon, have all been marred by acts of violence.

The Bill applies to persons who participate in the activities of a vigilante group that is associated, related, connected or affiliated to a political party, political party officer, or a political party member.

It also applies to persons who act as land guards and those who engage in other acts of vigilantism.

Mr Abdallah said the postponement of the stakeholders meeting which his Committee pushed for, is not a setback on their work.

He told Joy News’ Emefa Apawu that the Committee would need to wait and get a lot of views “including the outcome of the meeting of the National Peace Council with the political parties.”

Ranking Member on the Committee, Inusash Fuseini expressed surprise at the turn of events.

He said the Minority had hoped that the reason the Bill was brought under a Certificate of Urgency was so that it would be passed quickly, but they have been told the Companies Bill should be considered instead of it.

“Government has decided that what is more urgent and important for the recall might be to consider the Companies Bill.

“We are very surprised; we were not told that the recall would be to deal with the Companies Bill. We all left Parliament with the understanding that we are coming back to deal with the Vigilantism Bill only to be informed later that the Bill was no longer a priority. We are surprised,” he added.