The whole thing doesn’t make sense to me – Sosu on Akufo-Addo’s refusal to approve Witchcraft bill

Key Sponsor of the Criminal Offences Amendment Bill 2023, Francis Xavier Sosu has expressed his disappointment in the president’s refusal to assent to the bill.

According to him, the president chose to politicise the bill rather than consider the interests of vulnerable women.

“I think that he [President] is being misled or better still he is choosing politics over the protection of human rights. He is choosing politics over the protection of women’s rights. He is choosing politics over protecting vulnerable women in various witch camps probably dying on a daily basis,” he said.

He expressed his reservations in an interview on JoyFM’s Newsnight on Monday, December 18, 2023.

His comments follow President Akufo-Addo’s refusal to assent to the bill due to some constitutional concerns relating to Article 108 of the constitution.

The Madina MP said the President’s justification was not clear enough because, in 2021, President Akufo-Addo had endorsed the bill and called for a cross-party approach to passing the Bill. Hence, it was strange that he was referring to Article 108.

He said that all legal processes were followed adding that the Attorney General was also involved, and so he did not understand the President’s concern.

Mr Sosu said, “For me, for the President to choose petty partisanship over the protection of the greater good of our society, the human rights of our people. For me, it is quite sad.”

Read also: I am unable to assent to Witchcraft, Armed Forces Bills – Akufo-Addo tells Parliament
“You will recall that when this bill was sent to the president, I mean on the second of August, the president assented through the bill that abolished the death penalty for ordinary crimes under the Criminal Offences Act.

“It was only when the other bills were presented that he refused to assent to the others and then decided to withdraw assent for the first one. So, the whole thing does not even make sense to me,” he lamented.

On December 4, President Akufo-Addo said he was unable to sign some crucial bills passed by Parliament into law due to certain constitutional concerns.

These include the Criminal Offences Amendment Bill 2023, and the Armed Forces Amendment Bill 2023.

In July, Parliament passed the Armed Forces Bill which seeks to amend sections of Act 29 and the Armed Forces Act, 1962 (Act 105) to replace the Death Penalty with life imprisonment.

The Criminal Offences Amendment Bill 2023 also seeks to prohibit the act of declaring, accusing, naming, or labeling an individual as a witch, among other related matters.

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