Restrictions Bill: Potential Danger To Ghana’s Democracy – Mahama
Former President John Dramani Mahama has said the Imposition of Restrictions Bill has the tendency of endangering the growing democracy of this country.
Parliament on Friday, March 20 passed the Imposition of Restrictions Bill to give legal backing to powers that can be exercised by the President to impose restrictions on citizens in times of public emergencies like the Coronavirus pandemic for purposes of public safety and protection.
The House considered the bill throughout the day after it determined that it was of urgent nature.
Speaking at a Service to end the three days fasting and prayers declared by the National Democratic Congress (NDC) in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, the former president and flagbearer of the NDC commended the Minority in Parliament for resisting the passage of the Bill.
“In this respect, I commend the Minority in Parliament for standing on principle in opposing the passage of the Imposition of Restrictions Bill which does not address the needs of the moment and portends danger for our democracy,” he said.
Considerable amendments were made to the Bill to take care of a sanctions regime, the duration of restrictions and the introduction of the word, Coronavirus before being passed.
The Attorney General, Gloria Akufo who moved the motion for the third and final reading of the Bill explained that the emphasis of the Bill was to help create “a piece of legislation that will deal not only with the risk that our country has been exposed to, presently but also in the future.”
The NDC flagbearer also called for government to be forthright and firm in the implementation of its directives aimed at protecting the citizenry from the novel coronavirus pandemic.
“My beloved countrymen, it is also a call to those who rule to be forthright and principled. The principle and forthrightness that would not require a court injunction to stop the National Identification Authority (NIA) from acting in breach of guidelines we have all accepted to comply with. The principles that will let Churches have the moral courage to refuse the use of their premises for purposes that are in breach of the government's own rules”.
Two Ghanaian nationals, Mark Oliver Kevor and Emmanuel Akumatey Okrah on Thursday, March 19, 2020, sued the NIA for not halting the Ghana Card registration exercise despite the government's directive to stop public gatherings and as part of the novel coronavirus preventive measures.
This forced the NIA to suspend the ongoing Ghana Card registration exercise in the Eastern Region on Saturday, March 21.