Ghana’s President Nana Akufo-Addo has refused to sign into law bills recently passed by the country’s parliament that relate to witchcraft and attempted suicide.
Lawmakers in July this year passed the Criminal Offences (Amendment) Bill, 2022, (Witchcraft bill) and the Armed Forces (Amendment) Bill, 2023.
They by so doing voted to abolish the death penalty and remove it from the country’s statute books.
He explained that the way and manner the bills were prepared flouts Article 108 of the 1992 Ghana Constitution.
“After thorough consideration in the light of constitutional issues, I’m unable to assent to these bills,” President Akufo-Addo stated in a letter he sent to Parliament.
“I raised specific constitutional concerns regarding the bills related to Article 108 particularly the nature of these bills which were introduced to Parliament as private member’s bill rather than being presented by or on my [President] behalf,” the president added.
Article 108 of the 1992 constitution states: “Parliament shall not, unless the bill is introduced or the motion is introduced by, or on behalf of, the President -”
“The content of these bills have my support but we need to ensure that they are enacted in line with established constitutional and legislative process,” President Akufo-Addo’s letter to Parliament stated.
Ghana’s president however said his actions are purely constitutional actions and would now want to re-introduce the bill by himself.
“Any legislation we pass must be in complete alignment with the provision of our constitution. I intend to have the bill reintroduced to Parliament on my behalf in due course,” the letter said.