By Osumanu Al-Hassan
Minority leader in Parliament, Haruna Iddrissu, has cautioned that attempts at disbanding vigilantism should not be a ploy for the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP) to absorb its vigilantes into the legitimate national security setup.
According to him, vigilantism must be dealt with as a national issue instead of transforming it into another full bloom political topic. Partisan polarization, he said, should not be allowed to disrupt attempts at disbanding vigilantes and getting rid of the menace for good.
The Minority leader threw this caution last Friday 12th April, 2019 in his closing remarks as Parliament adjourned.
He said, “Only yesterday we considered an important bill introduced by the executive in the name of vigilantism. I trust and pray partisan polarization will not affect our common quest to get rid of vigilantism, which remains the gravest threat to our democracy and sustaining it.”
He reminded the President and the executive that Ghana has whole laws that make vigilantism and its associated offences punishable and stressed that the country’s legal regime namely the Criminal Offences Act and other Acts are replete with those offences.
The Minority, he said, in relation to the Commission of Enquiry on the Ayawaso West Wuogon election violence, demands that President Nana Akufo-Addo publishes a white paper as soon as practicable to guide the Vigilantism Bill laid before the House.
He said, “We demand that per provisions of the Constitution in Article 286 he publishes a white Paper as soon as practicable to guide the Vigilantism Bill because that will have far reaching findings in terms of what we need to do as a country. It is not the case where one political party will absorb a section of its vigilantes into the legitimate security and then turn around to ask other parties to disband.”
“We should deal with the Vigilantism Bill as a national bill and find a solution to it.”
On Thursday 11th April, 2019 a bill dubbed Vigilantism and Related Offences Bill, 2019 was laid in Parliament by the Attorney General and Minister for Justice, Ms. Gloria Akuffo under a certificate of urgency in accordance with Article 106 of the Constitution.
In its report to the House, the Committee on Constitutional, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs indicated by unanimous decision that the Bill is of urgent nature and may be taken through all stages in one day in accordance with Article 106 of the Constitution and Order 119 of the Standing Orders of the House.
The Committee, however, urged the House to allow sufficient time to enable it engage political parties, Civil Society Organizations, security experts and other stakeholders to solicit their views and perspectives towards the enactment of a robust law to combat the vigilantism menace.