Vigilantism and Related Offences Bill (2019): Why It Matters


On Thursday 11th April 2019, the Attorney-General and Minister for Justice Ms. Gloria Afua Akuffo laid the Vigilantism and Related Offences Bill (2019) in Parliament and asked the House to pass the Bill under a certificate of urgency in accordance with Article 106 of the 1992 Constitution.

The Speaker of Parliament, Hon. Mike Oquaye subsequently referred the Bill to the Constitutional, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Committee for consideration pursuant to Article 106(4) of the Constitution and Order 179 of the Standing Orders of Parliament.

Article 106 (4) of the 1992 Constitution states, Whenever a Bill is read the first time in Parliament, it shall be referred to the appropriate committee appointed under article 103 of this Constitution which shall examine the bill in detail and make all such inquiries in relation to it as the committee considers expedient or necessary.”

Order 179 states The Committee on Constitutional, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs, composed of eighteen Members shall examine all questions relating to Constitutional and parliamentary issues generally.”

 

Background

President Akufo-Addo in his recent State of the Nation Address (21st February, 2019), among others, instructed the Attorney General “to prepare and submit to Parliament, as soon as possible, specific legislation to deal with the phenomenon of vigilantism, and provide appropriate sanctions against its occurrence.”

Whilst some Ghanaians are of the view that the Bill is superfluous in light of existing laws which make punitive provisions for acts of violence and illegitimate/unreasonable application of force, others believe that the legal specificity of the Bill in itself will provide impetus to the fight against vigilantism across the country.

 

The Bill in Brief

The Vigilantism and Related Offences Bill (2019) seeks to disband political party vigilante groups and proscribe acts of vigilantism in the country. It creates offences specific to political party vigilante groups, the phenomenon of land guards and other acts of vigilantism. The Bill has a total of 10 clauses.

Download the Vigilantism and Related Offences Bill (2019) here: https://tinyurl.com/y5jhzwg6

 

 

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