The Ministry of Justice wishes to inform the general public that it will no longer present the proposed law that seeks to introduce the offence of parental insults in the criminal Offences bill. This withdrawal decision is as a result of concerns expressed from several quarters regarding the objectives and the possible effects of the said provision.
The Ministry wishes to inform the general public that the introduction of the said proposed law was simply intended to stem the rise of unwarranted abuse and/or intimidation of public officers who serve the public everyday and these include civil servants, police officers, judicial officers, National Assembly members etc.
Contrary to some claims, the proposed law was neither intended to stifle freedom of expression nor to shield public officers from public scrutiny. Far from it.
The Ministry has therefore considered that this single legal provision on parental insults, which is only one among over four hundred other provisions in the revised Criminal Offences Bill that we will be seeking to enact before the National Assembly, threatens to overshadow all the hard work invested in this process, and the more fundamental and far reaching reforms of our governance architecture in general and the criminal justice landscape of our country in particular. These include enacting an anti-corruption commission bill, an access to information bill, a media services bill, a women’s anti discrimination bill and above all, a new draft constitution to usher in renewed hope going into a 3rd republic. These are exciting times in our country and the sense of optimism imbued by these progressive constitutional and legislative reforms must not be allowed to be overshadowed by our disagreements over one single legal provision.