Parliament’s Committee meets Stakeholders over Vigilantism Bill

A security analyst and international relations experts with the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Centre (KAIPKTC), Dr. Vladimir Antwi-Danso, says, for the Vigilantism and Other Related Offences Bill, 2019, to be effective, to achieve the purpose for which it has been designed, state institutions must be given the freedom to enforce the law.

He believes there are enough legislation in the country, including the Criminal Offences Act, 1960 (Act 29) that can effectively address the menace of vigilantism, and so all that is needed is enforcement.

Giving his remarks during a stakeholders conference in Parliament House on Thursday to discuss the Vigilantism and Other Offences Bill, Dr Antwi-Danso wondered was emphatic that the Vigilantism Bill, if passed will still not work if frantic efforts are not made to ensure its enforcement. He said there is the need to tweak the institutional architecture of the country to make them more independent of the appointing authority.

The conference was organized by the Committee on Constitutional, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs of Parliament. It is for the purposes of collating views from relevant stakeholders for the purposes of enacting a law that would take into consideration the views of all.

He said “We will get no where if institutions continue to patronize the government t of the day,” adding that the trend had been so because the institutions clothed with the authority to enforce the laws were “at the beck and call of government.”

Dr Angela Dwamena-Aboagye who presented the views of the Civil Forum Initiative (CFI) – a collection of 28 Civil Society Organisations in Ghana, noted among others that the Bill as it is now will not achieve the desired effect because of serious prominent gaps that the group has identified in the Draft Bill. She said the identified gaps including the root cause of vigilantism, impunity recruitment of party vigilantes into the national security set up, would make implementation of the law difficult.

She wondered why the findings of the Emile Short Commission have not been made to reflect or influenced the contents of the draft Bill that is before parliament for consideration. The Forum also called on the government to address the underlining causes of mistrust between the political parties and the Police Service which seems to be weakening public confidence.

The Catholic Bishops Conference, on their side suggested a delay in the passage of the Bill to enable for broader and deeper stakeholder consultations.

Source: Jeorge Wilson Kingson

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