The President's Office asserted that the bill was only formally presented to him on Monday, November 27, 2023—the same day Speaker Bagbin raised concerns.
Akufo-Addo got witchcraft Bill just yesterday - Presidency clarifies: 'No law violated'
The Office of the President has clarified that President Nana Akufo-Addo has not failed to approve the Criminal Offences (Amendment) (No.2) Bill, 2023, which aims to prohibit witch doctors and witch-finding practices. This clarification follows Speaker of Parliament, Alban Bagbin's dissatisfaction with the President's alleged silence regarding the bill.
The private member’s bill, championed by MP Francis Xavier Sosu, seeks to deter assaults on alleged witches and bar individuals from practising as witch doctors or witch-finders.
The statement emphasized the President's commitment to his constitutional duties and assured a thorough evaluation of the bill before a decision is reached. The Office refuted claims of the President's silence, highlighting that the bill, along with the Wildlife Resources Management Bill, 2023, and National Petroleum Authority (Amendment) Bill, 2023, was officially presented to him on November 27, 2023, as indicated in a letter with reference PS/CS/112/826. The statement concludes that reports suggesting the bill has been neglected are entirely inaccurate.
“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?
“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).
“It is, thus, wholly inaccurate that the Bill has been sitting on the desk of the President without receiving due attention," the presidency's statement read.
On Monday, Minority Leader Cassiel Ato Forson contended that the President's non-assent to the bill constitutes a breach of the constitution. He was backed by Tamale South MP Haruna Iddrisu and they both faulted the president for allegedly violating the constitution.
The latest turn of events has put Parliament in a bad light with people raising questions about whether the lawmakers and the Speaker of the House did any due diligence before lashing out at the president.
Below are the presidency's statements:
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