Minority demands publication of Emile Short Commission report

THE Minority is mounting pressure on government to publish the report of the Justice Emile Short Commission of Inquiry into the violence that marred the Ayawaso West Wuogon bye-election on January 31, 2019. 

According to the caucus, publishing the report will arm Parliament to effectively deliberate on the Vigilantism and Related Offences Bill, 2019 which is currently before the House awaiting consideration. 

Admitting that the Bill was intended to end politically related violence through the disbandment of political vigilante groups, the Minority maintained that the Emile Short Commission report ought to influence the content of the 10-clause draft bill. 

“We call on President Akufo-Addo to cause to be published immediately of 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,” the Minority said at a press conference in Parliament addressed by James Agalga, the Ranking Member on the Defence and Interior Committee, yesterday. 

The Government, through the Attorney General, on April 13 laid the Bill before the House under a certificate of urgency after the Emile Short chaired Commission submitted its report to the President. 

According to Mr Agalga, flanged by Ranking Member on the Constitutional, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Committee, Alhaji Inusah Fuseini and a Deputy Minority Chief Whip, Ibrahim Ahmed, Parliament was set to take the Bill through all legislative processes today. 

The above assertion is corroborated by the provisional Order Paper for today which lists the Vigilantism and Related Offences Bill as the only public business to be conducted today. 

“Any attempt by the Executive arm of government to stampede Parliament to enact legislation on political party vigilantism without recourse to the Emile Short Commission’s report can only result in the enactment of a half-baked legislation not capable of dealing sufficiently well with the extremely dangerous phenomenon of politically-related violence orchestrated by political vigilante groups in our body politic,” Mr Agalga observed. 

Noting that the President was within the constitutional arrangements of six months to publish the report, Mr Agalga, Member of Parliament for Builsa North said “there are compelling reasons why it will be grossly misconceived for the President to seek refuge under the (discretionary powers granted him by the Constitution).

The Emile Short Commission which had a former Inspector General of Police, Patrick Kwarteng Acheampong and law professor, Henrietta Mensah-Bonsu as members, Mr Agalga said deals directly with politically related violence and “necessarily must serve as a source material for Parliament’s review before any legislation on vigilantism can be passed.”  

President Akufo-Addo, the Minority said “must uphold the tenets of good governance by publishing the Emile Short Commission’s report given the public interest nature of the issues investigated by the Commission.” 

Asked if the Minority was preparing the grounds to boycott the passage of the Bill, Mr Agalga, a former Deputy Minister for the Interior said: “We shall advise ourselves when the time comes.”

The Emile Short Commission was constituted by Vice President Dr Mahamudu Bawumia with the consent of President Akufo-Addo on February 6, 2019 to investigate the gun violence that characterised the by-election which was called following the death of the MP for the area, Emmanuel Kyeremanten Agyarko. 

As part of its terms and reference, the Commission was expected to make a full and impartial inquiry into the circumstances of, and establish the facts leading to, the events and associated violence. 

The Commission was also mandated to “identify any persons responsible for or who has been involved in the events, associated violence and injury.”

BY JULIUS YAO PETETSI 

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