The Committee on Constitutional, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs of Parliament is holding a stakeholders conference on the Vigilantism And Related Offences Bill, 2019, to engage the public on the best way forward to tackle the negative activities related to political vigilante groups in the country.
The Bill was introduced by the Akufo-Addo led government in response to the public outcry about the negative aspects of political vigilantism and the danger it poses to the country’s democracy.
Now, the Committee which is in charge of the Bill currently before Parliament has invited interested groups in the society to offer their input to enrich the content of the Bill which is expected to feature prominently on the agenda of Parliament when it resumes sitting at the end of the month of May.
Therefore, the Parliamentary Select Committee on Constitutional Legal and Parliamentary Affairs is expected to engage civil society, religious groups and the general public for their input on Thursday, May 23, 2019, at the Justice D. F. Annan Auditorium of the Parliament House.
The object of the Bill is to disband political party vigilante groups and proscribe acts of vigilantism in the country.
There has been the widespread revulsion of and condemnation of expressed by the public in the aftermath of the Ayawaso West Wuogon by-election of 31st January 2019, which led to the appointment of a Commission of Inquiry by President Akufo Addo to investigate the matter and make recommendations.
The President followed this with a call on the leadership of the two main political parties to come together to bring an end to this phenomenon of political party vigilantism. Failure for which, he stressed, would lead him to initiate legislation on the total disbandment of these groups and their related activities.
Recent public elections including by-elections held in the Fourth Republic have been characterized by violence particularly by-elections held in the following constituencies: Akwatia, Atiwa, Chereponi, Talensi, Amenfi West and more recently Ayawaso West Wuogon.
The unfortunate incidents of politically-related and motivated violence has led to the formation, organization, and promotion of ‘vigilante’ groups associated, connected or affiliated with political parties in the country. These political parties show up during public elections or political party events for the sole purpose of providing security for elections and political party activities.