A stakeholders meeting on the passage of the Vigilante and Related Offences Bill 2019, scheduled for April 24 to allow further consultations on the issue has been postponed indefinitely.
It had been hoped the bill will be passed into law on April 29 when parliament resumes from recess, but it appears that will not happen because when it resumes, will consider another equally urgent bill, Companies Bill but cannot tell when the bill will be deliberated on.
Ben Abdallah, Chairman of Constitutional and Legal Affairs Committee of Parliament, said the original plan had been scrapped to give the public enough time to study the bill before it is passed.
“We want to give the public enough time to study the bill in order to get enough memoranda as possible, the committee has to postpone holding of stakeholder engagement to a date which is yet to be fixed.
“The companies bill was started before parliament went on recess, it is also as urgent as the vigilantism bill, we will deal with the companies bill on 21, 29 to May 2, we will have to deal with other matters but as to whether we will be able to deal with vigilantism bill, I am not able to tell.
“The postponement of the stakeholders meeting which the committee pushed for, is not a setback on our work, the committee will need to wait, get views including outcome of meeting of the National Peace Council with political parties,” Mr Abdallah insisted.
Ranking Member on the Committee, Inusah Fuseini expressed surprise at the turn of events saying, “The Minority had hoped the reason the bill was brought under a certificate of urgency to be passed quickly, but told the companies bill should be considered instead of it.
“We are very surprised, we were not told recall would be to deal with companies bill, we all left parliament with understanding we are coming back to deal with vigilantism bill only to be informed later the bill was no longer a priority, we are surprised,” he lamented.
The Vigilante and Related Offences Bill 2019 was sent to Parliament on April 11, under a Certificate of Urgency, once passed into an Act, the bill will disband political party vigilante groups, prohibit their formation and forbid acts of such nature, following continuous violence that has characterised by-elections in the country.