“…although the concept of vigilantism connotes the act of enforcement of law by persons without the authority, there have been increasing cases of group of persons who engage in violent acts under the cloak of vigilantism”.
Paragraph 4.3 says:
“among the recent acts of political party vigilantism is the violence which characterised the Ayawaso West Wuogon Consti- tuency by-election held on 31st January, 2019, and which sad event was roundly condemned by all citizens”.
That indeed provided the watershed which His Excellency afforded himself to cause the Attorney-General and Minister for Justice to initiate this Bill, and that is what is before us.
Mr Speaker, the Coalition of Civil Society Organisations has sent a memorandum to this House through the Committee, and they relate to various issues. The Coalition represents 28 national civil society organisations and groups, including religious bodies, professional associations, think tanks, women, youth and workers' groups. They are all saying that this indeed is a very useful step that this country has taken.
However, they indicate to us that first of all, they make preliminary statements on the memorandum, which some people have spoken to. I agree entirely with them, going by the recently passed Interpretations Act, 2009 (Act 792) because if there is a conflict relating to any interpretation in any clause in any enactment that Parliament passes, the debate is also resorted to in giving interpretation.
So the memorandum should be informative, and I agree if we have to perhaps, expand it. This is because the memorandum itself is the policy outline, and as a Parliament, we may have to look at how to reconcile policy with programme.
It explains why when we came to fashioning the Petroleum Revenue Management Act, 2011 (Act 815) Hon Moses Asaga caused an amendment to be made which ran contrary to the memorandum and the House accepted that. So who is saying we cannot expand it? I disagree to the extent that the principle is further enriched.
Mr Speaker, so if it does not offend the Constitution, I agree that we may even have to look at the Memorandum. Having said that, the Coalition has offered clause by clause critique of all the provisions, and I
believe that they would further enrich what we do, including those of us who have not even read the Bill. Now is the time, and happily, this is a weekend.
Let us all digest the contents of the Bill, and if we have to add to improve it, regardless of the amendments that may be proffered, if the winnowing committee comes to a determination that perhaps there are too many amendments, we would determine how to structure the winnowing.
If it becomes too much of a handful for us and the Hon Minister has to withdraw and come back, so be it.
So Mr Speaker, nothing untoward is being done. What the Hon Minister did by introducing this Bill under a certificate of urgency was to introduce this Bill to us so that Parliament would be seized of the Bill before we went on recess. Nobody compelled us to take the Bill within one day, which is what the Committee themselves determined, that the issues involved are so fundamental that they needed much more time to engage stakeholders, and what they have done has been most productive.
Let us further digest it, and when we come to the clause by clause Consideration, do what is right and
appropriate to enhance our demo- cratic governance.
Mr Speaker, I thank you very much for the space granted.