The Minority in Parliament on Wednesday called on President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo to immediately publish the Report of the Emile Short Commission that probed the violence during the Ayawaso West Wuogon by-election.
Despite agreeing that the President had discretionary powers and a time frame of six months for such a report to be published, the Minority, at a press conference in Parliament House, said the immediate release of the Report would contribute immensely to discussions on the Vigilantism and Related Offences Bill, 2019.
The Bill, with the object to disband political party vigilante groups and proscribe acts of vigilantism in the country, was introduced before the House on April 11, 2019, by the Attorney-General under a Certificate of Urgency, but was suspended for more and wider consultations.
After the introduction of the Bill just a day before Parliament rose for the Easter holidays on Friday, April 12, the Speaker, Professor Aaron Michael Oquaye, notified members that the House would be recalled for its consideration and passage because of the urgent nature of the Bill.
However, at the recall from April 29 to May 3, 2019 the consideration was not carried out, still for more and wider stakeholder consultations and inputs.
The Minority National Democratic Congress (NDC) press conference comes a day ahead of notification of by the House, according to a Provisional Order Paper on Wednesday, that the Vigilantism and Related Offences Bill would be presented to the House by the Chairman of the Constitutional, Legal and Parliamentary Committee on Thursday, May 30, 2019.
Mr James Agalga, the Ranking Member on Parliament’s Defence and Interior Committee, and Member of Parliament for Builsa North Constituency, addressing the journalists, wondered why the Report of Justice Brobbey Commission that inquired into the creation of new regions in 2018, was still not published.
Quoting part of President Akufo-Addo’s State of the Nation Address, Mr Agalga recalled that the President expressed the hope that the findings and recommendations of the Emile Short Commission would enable Ghanaians to chart a path towards ending politically related violence.
He said holding on to the Emile Short’s Commission Report would stampede the work of Parliament, when the President himself had asked Parliament to work with dispatch on the proposed legislation.
Any attempt by the Executive to stampede Parliament into enacting legislation on political vigilantism without recourse to the Emile Short Commission’s Report could only result in the enactment of a half-baked legislation not capable of dealing sufficiently with the problem, Mr Agalga said.
“It is against this backdrop that we call on His Excellency, President Akufo-Addo to cause to be published, immediately, the Emile Short Commission’s Report in furtherance of the work of Parliament in relation to the passage or otherwise of the Vigilantism and Related Offences Bill.”
Mr Agalga, who quoted provisions in the 1992 Constitution of Ghana, said where the report of a commission of enquiry is not to be published, the President shall issue a statement to that effects giving reasons why the report is not to be published.
The Minority called on the President to uphold the tenets of good governance by publishing the Report in the public interest.
The Minority also queried the content and volume of the Bill, which had 10 articles.