The Office of the President has parried claims that President Nana Akufo-Addo has delayed in assenting to the Criminal Offences (Amendment) (No.2) Bill, 2023, which seeks to outlaw witch doctors and witch-finding practices.
The presidency noted that, “President Akufo-Addo is mindful of Article 106(7) of the 1992 Constitution, which affords the President seven (7) days to review and give his assent to any Bill presented to him. In light of this constitutional provision, it is important to note that the President is still well within the legally stipulated timeframe to make a decision regarding the Bill. During this period, the President may examine the bill thoroughly and, if necessary, convey any concerns or suggestion he might have regarding its content to Parliament.”
In a statement yesterday, Director of Communications at the presidency, Eugene Arhin stated that “Contrary to the claims made in these reports by the Speaker of Parliament and the Minority Caucus in Parliament, President Akufo-Addo has not remained silent on the Bill. How could the Speaker of Parliament accuse the President of remaining silent on the Bill when it was officially presented to him on Monday, 27th November 2023, the same day the Speaker made the accusation?”
It added that “Indeed, the Bill was officially presented to the President for his assent together with the Wildlife Resources Management Bill, 2023 and National Petroleum Authority (Amendment) Bill, 2023, under cover of a letter dated 27th November 2023, with reference PS/CS/112/826. (See attachment).”
The statement comes after Speaker of Parliament, Alban Bagbin, expressed displeasure over the President’s alleged silence on the bill.
The bill, a private member’s bill sponsored by MP Francis Xavier Sosu, aims at preventing attacks on alleged witches and prohibiting individuals from operating as witch-doctors or witch-finders.
The statement further clarified that the President takes his constitutional duties seriously and will carefully consider the bill before making a decision.
“It is, thus, wholly inaccurate that the Bill has been sitting on the desk of the President without receiving due attention.”