Parliament suspends Vigilante Bill; awaits outcome of NPP, NDC talks
One of the major decisions that culminated the emergency recall from recess of Members of Parliament (NPP) has in the meantime, been suspended, pending the outcome of talks between the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP) and the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) over disbanding political vigilantism in the country.
The Vigilantism and Related Offences Bill, 2019, was amongst others, high on the priority list of items that were scheduled to be considered and approved by the House during the Emergency Meeting from Monday, April 29 to May 3, 2019.
However, the Majority Leader and Minister of Parliamentary Affairs, Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, delivering the Business Statement on the floor told Members that the Vigilantism and Related Offences Bill may not be considered following a request by the Constitutional, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs, to do further consultation on the matter before submitting their report to the plenary for consideration and approval.
In addition to that, it has become very important for the Committee to wait for the outcome of ongoing talks between the NPP and NPP over disbanding political vigilantism in the country which is being mediated by the Chairman of the National Peace Council, Prof. Emmanuel Asante.
“Rt. Hon. Speaker, as Hon. Members may recall, the House was informed of a possible recall from recess to consider amongst others, the Vigilantism and Related Offences Bill, 2019.
However, indications from the Committee on Constitutional, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs reveals that further consultation is required, including the Professor Emmanuel Asante Committee Report on the Bill. In the circumstances, consideration of the Bill at this Emergency Meeting may not be done”, noted. Hon. Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu.
His explanation did not go down with the Minority Caucus which appeared deceived by the purpose of the recall of the House.
The Minority Leader, Haruna Iddrisu commenting on the Business Statement said it was about time the Executive respected the additional roles MPs play, especially at the constituency level when the House is on recess.
According to him, the emergency recall of the House was premised on the Vigilantism and Related Offences Bill, 2019, and therefore wondered why such a main agenda had to be suspended for other matters that were not on the priority list for the Emergency Meeting.
He urged the Business Committee which is also chaired by the Majority Leader to always read in between the lines and do what is right before they incur the wrath of Members.
Mr. Speaker, I wish to state that Parliament is not an extension of the Executive
During the Emergency Meeting, the House will consider amongst others, the following matters:
1.Companies Bill, 2018;
2.Synohydro-related tax exemptions and waivers;
3.Prepayment Agreement between the Government of the Republic of Ghana, represented by the Ministry of Finance and acting through the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC) and GermCorp Commodities Trading SA for an amount of Two Hundred and Twenty Million United States Dollars (US$20million) to deal with challenges relating to the Energy sector;
4.Amendment No. 1 to the Petroleum Agreement among the Government of the Republic of Ghana, Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC), GNPC Exploration and Production Company Limited and AGM Petroleum Ghana Limited in respect of the South Deepwater Tano Contract Area; and
5.National Road Safety Authority Bill, 2019.