Politics

Akufo-Addo’s refusal to assent to witchcraft bill breach of constitution – Minority

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The Minority in Parliament is accusing President Akufo-Addo of breaching the constitution by his failure to assent to the amendment to the Criminal and other Offences Act within the stipulated time.

The Criminal and other Offences Act amendment which was passed in July this year to criminalise accusations of witchcraft and the practices of witch-finders has still not been assented to by the President despite several killings related to accusations of witchcraft recorded since then.

According to the Minority Leader, Cassiel Ato Forson, the President’s failure to assent to the bill is in breach of the constitution and has thus called on parliament to take action against the president should he continue to hold out.

“So clearly Mr. Speaker there is a constitutional breach and this house must take steps to deal with the constitutional breach that we have seen and the criminal amendment bill and the witchcraft accusation bill.

“And Mr. Speaker it’s important that we take steps to deal with that. And the constitution guides us as to what we have to do if the president fails to assent to bills that have been approved by this house,” he said.

Supporting the Minority Leader, Tamale South MP, Haruna Iddrisu, said as stipulated in Article 106() the president is mandated to inform the house in writing why he has been unable to assent to the document.

“The constitution provides that where the president refuses to assent to a bill he shall within 14 days after the refusal:

“a) State in a memorandum to the speaker any provisions of the bill which in his opinion should be reconsidered by parliament including his recommendation for amendment if any; or

“b) Inform the speaker that he has referred the bill to the council of state for consideration or comment under article 90 of this constitution.”

He stated that should Parliament refuse to act to put the President in check, this might set a very dangerous precedent which could cause the nation dearly in the future.

“Mr. Speaker I am raising this issue because this house should never ever serve a precedent where the president refuses to assent to a bill and can walk away as if he has the mandate and authority to do so.

“If he has, he owes this house the fidelity to the provisions of article 106 the constitution. Other than that some important bills tomorrow may pass and the president will walk this wrong path. It’s wrong constitutionally, he has no reason, if he has reason he must write to you formally,” he said.

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