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AG lays political vigilantism bill in parliament, likely to be passed Friday

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Ghana’s Attorney General (AG) Gloria Afua Akuffo presented before parliament a new bill seeking to criminalise and disband all forms of political vigilantism in the country.

The AG is asking the parliamentarians to under a certificate of urgency, approve the “vigilantism and related offences bill 2019” that the government intends to use to end acts of violence perpetuated under the guise of vigilantism.

An attempt by the minority leader Haruna Iddrisu to block the laying of the bill by the AG on the grounds of it not being gazetted as required by law was shot down by the Speaker Mike Ocquaye.

Quoting the standing orders of the House and article 106 of the constitution, Mr Iddrisu argued the bill ought to have been “gazetted at least 14 days before the date of its introduction in parliament,” but added “I do not see any gazette indication”.

He said inasmuch as they support the bill, they will not compromise on the laws of the land.

“I understand the president is in a hurry to deal with it [the bill]. We think there must be multi stakeholder consultation. The scourge of vigilantism is bigger than the NDC, NPP; it’s a national problem and therefore, we are minded that this should not be rushed through an emergency and the Ghanaian citizens and civil society not to have opportunity to make input,” he stated.

But the Speaker said the issue of “whether it is a matter of rushing or whatever, the determination thereof is reposed in our committee”.

He thus referred the bill to the Committee on Legal, Constitutional and Parliamentary Affairs to consider it and report back to the House.

Our parliamentary correspondent Komla Klutse said the committee members have begun work on the bill in earnest as they are currently locked up in a meeting to consider it.

The committee is likely to conclude its work on the bill today and submit a report on it to the house for consideration and subsequent approval by the House by Friday, April 12 when the House will rise for the Easter holidays.

By Stephen Kwabena Effah|3news.com|Ghana

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