Vigilantism Bill doesn’t purge security services of vigilante elements–Sammy Gyamfi

The National Communications Officer of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), Sammy Gyamfi has emphasised that any anti-vigilantism law which doesn’t purge the security services of vigilante elements is needless.

He explained that “it all boils down to enforcement, the political will and the courage to enforce the law is what matters and not the mere passage of laws,” and described the Vigilantism Bill laid before Parliament by the Attorney-General meant to disband political party vigilante groups as ‘useless’.

The bill is proposing a 10 to25-year prison term for anyone who participates in the activities of a political party vigilante group with an offensive weapon.

Clause 3 of the legislation known as ‘Vigilantism and Related Offences Bill, 2019’, prohibits the formation, organisation, operation or promotion of the formation, organisation, operation or activities of a political party vigilante group, further prohibits membership of a political party vigilante and participation in the activities of a political party vigilante group.

The bill was laid and read the first time on the floor of the House on April 11, 2019 on behalf of the government by the Attorney-General and referred to the Committee on Constitution, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs by the Speaker to consider its urgency or otherwise and report same to the plenary for consideration.

Mr Gyamfi insisted that “the bill does not address the issue of members of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) political vigilante groups who have been integrated in the national security apparatus and other security service, definition of vigilante, vigilante group and vigilantism on page 10 is very problematic.

“It can serve as an escape route for those who engage in plain political party thuggery,” Mr Gyamfi cautioned, adding that “all ruling political parties will do, is to clothe their thugs with national security apparels to terrorise their political opponents”.

Minority Leader, Haruna Iddrisu, indicated that the certificate of urgency under which the bill was brought to Parliament was unnecessary but should rather go through normal processes for enactment of a law.

However, Deputy Majority Leader, Adwoa Safo, pointed out that, determination of urgency of a bill doesn’t lie in the mouth of the Speaker or the Minority Leader but the committee.


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