Minority Declines To Support ‘Coronavirus’ Bill To Restrict Movement Under Certificate Of Urgency
The Minority in Parliament has declined to support the Imposition of Restrictions Bill, 2020 aimed at helping to prevent the spread of the Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Ghana under a certificate of urgency.
The Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, Ms Gloria Afua Akuffo, on Wednesday, March 18, 2020 laid the Imposition of Restrictions Bill, 2020 before Parliament.
The bill, which is to back President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo’s directives on measures to curb the spread of the COVID-19 in Ghana, is intended to provide a legislative framework, in consonance with the Constitution, for the imposition of restrictions as a quick and effective means of intervention to address emergencies.
However, the Minority in Parliament has indicated that they cannot support the Bill under a certificate of urgency.
The Graphic Online understands the Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Ms Gloria Akuffo is in Parliament Thursday afternoon meeting the Constitutional and Legal Committee of Parliament, praying that it should approve the Restrictions Bill to be considered under a certificate of urgency.
The Minister of Information, Mr Kojo Oppong Nkrumah in a tweet said: “Unfortunately, the minority has declined to support the view that the bill be considered under a certificate of urgency.”
The Graphic Online’s reporter in Parliament, Nana Konadu Agyeman reported that the Minority’s argument was that the Bill was not an urgent one on the grounds that it failed to focus on measures that would be instituted to deal with the outbreak of Coronavirus in Ghana.
Contrary, it argued that the Bill was intended to give the President “overbroad powers” to restrict freedom of movement, freedom of speech and freedom of thought.
“So we cannot allow the Bill to override Chapter 5 of the Constitution because it is a general restriction of freedom in Ghana,” they said.
Addressing the press outside Parliament Thursday afternoon, the Chairman of the Subsidiary Legislation Committee of Parliament, Dr Dominic Ayine said, “Not because we do not want the President to adopt measures to address the Coronavirus pandemic but let it be known to all Ghanaians that the Minority support the taking of measures that are narrowly-tailored in dealing with Coronavirus pandemic,” the Graphic Online’s Agyeman reported.
The Bill is intended to provide a legislative framework in consonance with the Constitution for the imposition of restrictions as a quick and effective means of intervention to address emergencies.
It is also to provide power to the President to impose restrictions on persons in the event of disaster, emergency or similar circumstance to ensure public safety and protection, as well as in the interest of defence, public health among others.
The Second Deputy Speaker, Mr Alban Bagbin, referred it to the Constitutional, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Committee for consideration and report to the House.