Minority in Parliament is warning against attempts to pass the Vigilantism and Other Offences Act, 2019 without first publishing report of the Emile Short Commission.
According to the Minority, the Short Commission Report should have direct influence on debate in Parliament else the final product of the Vigilante Bill would be half-baked.
President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, the Minority insists, should adhere to tenets of good governance and publish the report immediately given the public interest of issues investigated by the said commission and warned against attempt to stampede Parliament into passing the Bill without recourse to the Commission report that investigated the same matter.
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Former Deputy Attorney-General, James Agalga who addressed the media in Parliament Wednesday, indicated there is no denial the Vigilantism Bill is an attempt to end politically-related violence through disbandment of political vigilante groups.
He, however, stressed if so the Emile Short Commission’s report should influence the content of the Bill or be published to enable Members of Parliament to deliberate on the Bill with recommendations of the Commission in mind.
He said, “Any attempt by the Executive arm of government to stampede Parliament to enact legislation on political party vigilantism without recourse to the Emile Short Commission’s report can only result in the enactment of a half-baked legislation not capable of dealing sufficiently well with the extremely dangerous phenomenon of politically related violence orchestrated by political vigilante groups in our body politic.”
“It is against this back drop that we call on His Excellency, President Akufo-Addo to cause to be published immediately the Emile Short Commission’s report in furtherance of the work of Parliament in relation to the passage or otherwise of the Vigilantism and Related Offences Bill.”
The Minority, he said, is not oblivious to the provisions contained in Articles 208 (3) an (4) of the 1992 constitution which requires the President to cause to be published the report of a commission of Inquiry within six months after the date of the submission together with the white paper on it except where the report is not to be published, the President shall issue a statement to that effect giving reasons why the report is not to be published.
Mr. James Agalga, however, argued it will be gross misinterpretation on the side of President Akufo-Addo to seek refuge under Article 203(4) of the constitution regardless of the discretionary powers vested in him by this provision on the publication or otherwise of the Report of a Commission of Inquiry.
“The Emile Short Commission report deals directly with politically-related violence and acts of political party vigilantism and must necessarily serve as source material for Parliament’s review before any legislation on vigilantism can be passed.”
The Minority wondered whether President Akufo-Addo is not intending the vigilantism law to be defective thereby prematurely sending the Bill to Parliament when the Short Commission Report should have served as a guide before it was laid.