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General News of Thursday, 9 May 2019

Source: citinewsroom.com

I’ll continue to press Parliament for anti-vigilantism Bill – Nana Addo

President Nana Akufo-Addo says he will continue to mount pressure on Parliament till the Vigilante and Related Offenses Bill is passed into law.

The Bill, when passed, will make acts related to vigilantism punishable with jail terms.

The Minority Ranking Member on Constitutional and Legal Affairs Committee, Inusah Fusani earlier accused the President of interfering in the work of Parliament.

But speaking at a meeting with the leadership of the Association of Independent Churches, Nana Akufo-Addo said despite accusations of his interference in the work of the legislature, he will ensure that the MPs pass the law.

“…I hear there are some in Parliament who say I am interfering in the work of Parliament and that I should let them go at their own pace, I am not going to allow them to go at their own pace.”

“The Ghanaian people want a result on this matter so the extent that my talk will allow that process to happen and that we get a quick result, I am going to continue down that path.”

The status of the Vigilantism and Related Offences Bill caused some confusion among members of Parliament’s Constitutional, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Committee last week with the Chairman of the Committee, Ben Abdallah maintaining that the committee was considering the Bill and awaiting inputs from stakeholders.

But the Ranking Member, Inusah Fuseini said nothing had been done about it and was of the view that President Akufo-Addo was out of touch with reality of the Bill.

Inusah Fuseini, who is also the Member of Parliament for Tamale Central, in an interview with Citi News, said although all committee members at the meeting agreed to treat the Bill as urgent, Government through the Attorney General has done nothing to ensure the passage of the Bill.

Ben Abdallah in defending the progress his committee has made on the Bill said that although the Bill is urgent, he has not set any timelines for the passage of the Bill into law.

The Select Committee on Constitutional, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs has already called for the input of Ghanaians into the Bill.

President Akufo-Addo had vowed to use legislation to address political vigilantism if the two main political parties fail to resolve it through dialogue.

The two parties, the National Democratic Congress (NDC) and New Patriotic Party (NPP), have had meetings in this regard, which are being mediated by the Peace Council.

Though more meetings are expected, the NPP and the NDC have among other things agreed to stop the ownership, hiring and the utilisation of vigilante and or militia groups by political members.