The Attoney general, Miss Gloria Akuffo on Wednesday 18th March 2020 laid before parliament the Re-Imposition of the Restriction bill into law.
The bill is in accordance with Article 21 of the 1992 Constitution, with an Approval from the President on the 18th March 2020.
ABOUT THE RESTRICTION BILL
The law under the certificate of urgency will provide powers to the president to impose restriction on persons in the event of disaster.
It will also enable the president to impose restrictions on emergency for public safety and protection that is reasonably required for the purpose of safeguarding the people of Ghana against the teaching of a doctrine or propagation that encourages disrespect for the nationhood of Ghana, the national symbols and emblems.
The Bill is also intended to provide a legislative framework in consonance with the Constitution for the impositions, as a quick and effective means of intervention to address emergencies.
At the same time, it recognises the general fundamental freedoms guaranteed under article 21 of the Constitution, but also took conscious of the fact that the exercise of the right to the general fundamental freedoms guaranteed under the Constitution was subject to the laws that were reasonably required, in the interest of public safety and public health as provided for in paragraphs (c) (d) and clause(4) of article 21of the Constitution (ghanaiantimes.com)
ARTICLE 21CLAUSE (4) (c) (d)
(c) for the imposition of restrictions that are reasonably required in the interest of defence, public safety, pubic health or the running of essential services, on the movement or residence within Ghana of any person or persons generally, or any class of persons; or
However, the Minority chip whip said the bill gives the president too much power because of the absence of montly renewal against the proposed three months renewal.
He again said that, the covid-19 could have been dealt with using the Public order Act 2012.
“I am sure they have not read the public health Act because if they had read it, they would have known that it makes provisions for quarantine and stopping movement. They would have known that this situation they are trying to deal with is perfectly covered by the Public Health Act” “What they have laid is not about Coronavirus,” He added
“I don’t see how parliament will serve the interest of this country if it passes this… I don’t think this will be a useful law… It will be a bad move if parliament passes this. Just as it could be used for good, it could be used for a lot of evil,” Mr. Mubarack said.
Notwithstanding, Mr Alban Bagbin, the second deputy speaker has referred the bill to the Committee on Constitutional, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs in accordance with the standing orders of the house to consider it under a certificate of urgency. And has urged both minority and majority leaders and their members to support the bill.
THE IMPOSITION OF RESTRICTION BILL PASSED
Despite opposion by minority, government has passed the Imposition of restriction bill on Friday 20th March,2020.
The bill will give the president the power to impose restriction on the movement of people in times of disaster.
The Majority members argued that the bill will ensure that the directives given by the president to stop the spread of coronavirus will be carried out.
WHAT DOES THE BILL ENTAILS
The bill allows the President to impose restrictions required in the interest of defence, public safety, public health or the running of essential services.
It also allows the President to impose restrictions on movement of residence within Ghana.
It also allows the President restrict the freedom of entry into Ghana.
Additionally, the President could impose restrictions
“for the purpose of safeguarding the people of Ghana against teaching or propagation of a doctrine which exhibits or encourages disrespect for the nationhood of Ghana, the national symbols and emblems, or incites hatred against other community members.”
At the same time, the President can impose the restrictions through an executive order in a period of three months. Beyond three months, the order has to be renewed.
WHAT HAPPENS IF I FLOUT THE ORDER
Flouting the restriction is an offence.Anyone who flouts it will pay a fine of not less than 1000 penalty units and not more than 5000 penalty units.
Each unit is GHS12. An offender will pay not let than 12,000 gh or not more than 60,000gh.The culprit could also be prisononed not less than three months and not more than six months or could be both fined and imprisoned.
Parliament’s Constitution and Legal Affairs Committee introduced the new penalties into the bill after the Minority complained the original document from the Executive gave the President too much power, which includes determining penalties.
CRITICAL QUESTIONS TO ANALYSE
- Is the Restriction bill a bridge to democracy and constitutional rule?
What is your take on the Restriction bill, share with us today…!