Head of Research and Deputy Director of the Center for Democratic Development (CDD), Dr. Franklin Oduro, has expressed surprise in the way the government is determined to ensure the Interception of Postal Packets and Telecommunication Messages Bill is passed by Parliament.
He said a bill that seeks to interfere with the privacy of individuals must be passed in a participatory atmosphere devoid of any hidden agenda.
Dr. Oduro said the executive must not seek to rush the bill through parliament but rather ensure it addresses all other outstanding ambiguities.
Speaking at the Joy FM’s Thought Leadership program at the Alisa Hotel on the bill, he said the reference to “national security in the Bill is nebulous and this must be clarified”.
“What is the nature of the threat that this country seeks to defend against?” he questioned.
He advised Parliament to refer the bill back to the executive to address some of the deficiencies identified in the document.
Executive Director of Media Foundation of West Africa (MFWA), Sulley Braimah, said the passage of the bill before Parliament will paint a negative picture of the country.
According to him, if the executive wants to have a good law, it has to ensure the process leading to its passage has to be “participatory, and transparent for all.”
Mr. Braimah said what the civil societies in the country seek to achieve was to ensure the process is engaging and open for the citizens to contribute.
However, Deputy Minister of Interior, James Agaga, rebutted claims that the bill seeks to encourage “arbitrariness” saying the law will cure the inherent inefficiencies of all the other laws such as the Anti-terrorism Act.
“Anti-terrorism act is specific to act of terrorism and this is very limited in its scope”, he said.
Mr. Agaga said the bill seeks to expand the scope of existing laws on terrorism, suppress organized crime and narcotic trafficking in the country.
According to him, for the country to avoid abuse of the law in terms of interpretation, the current bill before the House has detailed the circumstances and conditions for an interception warrant.
He advised Ghanaians to be positive about the bill and support the government to address the issues of terrorism.