After two decades, the Right to Information (RTI) Bill has finally been laid before Parliament for consideration.
The presentation of the Bill to Parliament followed constant pressure cranked up on the President and the executive by groups namely the Right to Information Coalition and the Action Campaign Group, which demanded government to lay the Bill in Parliament before the Houses rises.
The RTI Collation in a statement issued a ten-day ultimatum as part of coordinated campaign for speedy passage of the Bill into law.
The Coalition admitted that the Bill could not be passed immediately but argued the minimum expectation is for the Bill to be laid in Parliament before the House goes on recess.
The Coalition stated, “We are united in our belief that passage of the RTI Bill is necessary to make credible and effective existing anticorruption legislation, including the Office of the Special Prosecutor Act and the Whistleblower Act.”
“Similarly, we are confident the passage of the RTI Bill will help address the public financial management and institutional weaknesses noted in the recently concluded Auditor General report on the liabilities of Ministries, Department and Agencies ending 31st December 2016.”
“It is in the interest of the citizens of Ghana and for the urgent need to give meaning to the article 21 “Right to Information” and the article 41 citizens duty “to protect and preserve public property and expose and combat misuse and waste of public funds and property”, for him to keep this promise.”
Though the Bill has been laid, debate is expected to commence when Parliament resumes from recess after the House rose last Friday.
The advocacy for the passage of the Bill by civil society has been on-going for more than 20 years. The RTI Bill was first drafted in 1999 and after several reviews presented to Parliament for the first time in 2010.
However, from 2010, the government failed to fulfill its commitments on both local and international platforms to pass the Bill into law until last Friday when it was represented to Parliament.
By Osumanu Al-Hassanemail@example.com