Armed Forces Bill Underway

The Constitution Review Implementation Committee (CRIC) has announced the preparation of the Armed Forces Amendment Bill in-line with the recommendation made by the Constitution Review Commission (CRC).

Consequently, a memorandum accompanying the Bill has been signed by the Minister of Defence and placed before cabinet.

The CRC recommended the repeal of section 61(3) of the Armed Forces Act, Act 105, because it is inconsistent with article 14(3) (b) of the constitution.

Professor Emmanuel V.O. Danquah, Chairman of CRIC said this at a media briefing in Accra to highlight the activities of the committee, since it began operations in October last year.

The members of the Committee who were appointed by government were given a specific mandate to develop the Government White Paper based on the CRC report, the public reactions to these documents, and the constitution amendments bills for both the entrenched and non-entrenched provisions of the constitution.

Besides, the Committee was also asked to prepare the country for the impending referendum on the entrenched provisions, as well as facilitate the passage of bills for the amendment of the non-entrenched provisions of the constitution.

Prof Danquah said some of the recommendations had to do with the seamless flow of information between the Office of the President and the Vice-President to ensure that the Vice-President could step in the shoes of the President whenever it is required by law.

He said the appointment of the Chairperson of the Council of State is expected to be done by the members themselves without the President nominating any member for that position.

He said part of the recommendations was addressed to the Chairperson of the Council of State towards ensuring that members of the Council maintained their independence and neutrality at all times and avoided active party politics.

Prof Danquah said the Committee also reminded the Chief Justice on the need to institute an administrative mechanism for the courts to prioritize the hearing of disputes arising from Presidential and Parliamentary elections over the normal court schedules.

He said the Chief Justice is to create a division of the High Court to handle electoral disputes as an appropriate and productive measure for the effective and prompt resolution of electoral problems.

Prof Danquah said the Committee also met the Speaker and the leadership of Parliament on the recommendations made the CRC.

He said the recommendations tasked Parliament to develop more detailed guidelines for the monitoring and evaluating the process of making and ensuring the quality of subsidiary legislation and keeping a record of the voting patterns of members of Parliament.

Prof Danquah said that the Committee has also proposed the amendment of the Labour Act 2003, Act 651 with the view to enhance the current maternity leave and also provide paternity leave to male workers.

He explained that the proposal to extend maternity leave from 12 to 16 weeks was in accordance with the CRC report.

He said male workers who on production of a medical certificate issued by a medical practitioner or midwife are entitled to paternity leave after the birth of his child for a period of five working days. The male worker on paternity leave is entitled to be paid his full remuneration.

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