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General News Fri, 31 May 2019

Committee report on Vigilante Bill not ready

The report of the Committee on Constitutional, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs on the Vigilante and related Offences Bill, 2019, was not presented, as scheduled, to Parliament on Thursday.

Mr Ben Abdallah Banda, Chairman of the Committee, explained that the report was not ready.

The Minority National Democratic Congress (NDC) Caucus in Parliament, a day earlier held a News conference, calling on President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo to publish the Report of the Emile Short Commission that probed the violence during the Ayawaso West Wuogon by-election.

The Minority explained that the release of the Report would help make a more informed input into the Bill, threatening to advise itself appropriately if the report was not released.

The Bill, with the object to disband political party vigilante groups and proscribe acts of vigilantism in the country, was introduced before the House on April 11, 2019, by the Attorney-General under a Certificate of Urgency, but was suspended for more and wider consultations.

After the introduction of the Bill just a day before Parliament rose for the Easter holidays on Friday, April 12, the Speaker, Professor Aaron Michael Oquaye, notified members that the House would be recalled for its consideration and passage because of the urgent nature of the Bill.

However, at the recall from April 29 to May 3, 2019, the consideration was not carried out, still for more and wider stakeholder consultations and inputs.

Meanwhile, the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP), opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) together with the National Peace Council have agreed to draw a road map for the disbandment of political vigilantism.

A two-day meeting at the Peduase Lodge, which ended on Tuesday May 28, 2019, agreed that the National Peace Council with the support of Technical expert and with the input from the two political parties will present a working document on the road map for the consideration of the parties.

Taking into account the reports of the various stakeholders at the just-ended dialogue for the eradication of politically related violence it would be done within a period of four weeks.

The draft code of conduct designed by the National Peace Council will be considered as one of the deliverables in the presentation of the road maps. The understanding is that the National Peace Council will select individuals from both parties to draft the road map.

There will also be a monitoring system to ensure that all the recommendations from the technical experts are being implemented.

The violence that charatcterised Ayawaso bye-elections, prompted President Akufo-Addo to set up a Commission of Inquiry to probe the issue and after a month they made certain recommendations, one of such was to disband political vigilante groups.

The Executive thereafter introduced the legislation to disband vigilantism. Both the NPP and NDC and other stakeholders have been holding meetings on the proposed legislation.

Source: ghananewsagency.org