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Politics of Friday, 31 May 2019

Source: Graphic.com.gh

Minority’s demand for publication of Short Commission report premature - Oppong Nkrumah

Government says demands by the Minority in Parliament for the publication of the Emile Short Commission report on the Ayawaso West Wuogon by-election violence are premature.

The Minority on Wednesday called on President Akufo-Addo to make public the report.

Six people sustained gunshot wounds during the bye-election held on January 31, 2019.

The opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) consequently withdrew from the exercise citing safety concerns.

Voters were electing a new Member of Parliament (MP) for the area following the demise of NPP MP Emmanuel Kyeremateng Agyarko.

The Ranking Member of Parliament’s Defence and Interior Committee, James Agalga on Wednesday asked that the report be published ahead of a debate on the vigilantism and related offences bill. The bill was initiated at the request of President Akufo-Addo to tackle party militia operations, which was blamed for the violence during the by-election.

According to Agalga, the publication of the report would influence the Minority’s participation in the debate on the bill.

But speaking to Starr News, the Information Minister, Kojo Oppong Nkrumah rejected the Minority’s demand, saying the report would be released at the right time.

“I don’t think that we were second-guessing the constitution of the Republic. The constitution of the Republic is clear that when you have a commission of enquiry, you have up to six months to make a determination—a. Whether the report will be made public and if so you publish it and the white paper that goes along with it or—b. If the report contains something for which reason it cannot be made public, the president is required to issue a statement explaining why it cannot be made public,” Oppong Nkrumah told Starr News’s Ibrahim Alhassan on Thursday.

“This is just about what… three months after the commission’s report was submitted, so it will be strange for anybody who knows the law, knows the constitution and is very familiar to it [then] all of a sudden feign ignorance about what the constitution says. I think it is quite clear and we don’t need to belabour that point unless somebody just wants to do some mischief with it,” he added.

He said the Minority’s suggestion for the report to be made public to inform their line of argument, is out of place.

“I have heard them put up an alternative argument that due to the bill against vigilantism... I think when you put up that argument again you have challenges. Why do you suppose that without a public outing of the Emile Short Commission’s report persons cannot contribute to the vigilantism bill? It is a lame argument to make,” Oppong Nkrumah stated.