Mr Akoto Ampaw, a leading member of the Ghana Right to Information Coalition, has lauded the First and Second Deputy Speakers of Parliament, Mr Alban Bagbin and Joseph Osei-Owusu (Joe-Wise), respectively, for the roles they played in ensuring the passage of the Right to Information (RTI) Bill into law.
The Members of Parliament for Nadowli/Kaleo and Ashanti Bekwai constituencies, respectively, according to Mr Ampaw, supported the need for what he described as a truly empowering RTI Law that is consistent with the 1992 Constitution.
“They embraced the need to have a truly democratic and empowering Right to Information law that opens up the governance space for the people, which is consistent with the First Article of our Constitution: ‘The Sovereignty of Ghana resides in the people of Ghana, in whose name and for whose welfare the powers of government are to be exercised in the manner and within the limits laid down in this Constitution’,” he said while speaking at a Civil Society Stakeholders Forum on the RTI Act 2019 (ACT 989) organised by the Coalition with support from the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiatives (CHRI) and OSIWA in Accra on Tuesday, 23 July 2019.
Mr Ampaw also noted that there was a need to keep an eye on the implementation of the Act to ensure that the right things are done by the authorities.
“We need to ensure that the people with the right competencies are recruited to manage the information and also release the information,” he said.
“People who are recruited should not be people who will serve the political interest of their parties,” he added.
Mr Ampaw, also a private legal practitioner, told the gathering that the Information Minister has been engaging the coalition and other stakeholders on plans to implement the law in 2020.
Regarding Mr Nkrumah’s commitment to ensure effective implementation of the law, Mr Ampaw said: “The Minister of Information has been ensuring that by 2020, we are ready, we are ready to go.
“Some people will wait till 2020 before starting preparations with the implementation but he has bought into the idea that we start preparations now.
“The programmes he has set out for the implementation are quite ambitious but let us see how it goes because public institutions have a way of stifling genuine initiatives.”
In March 2019, Ghana’s legislature passed the Right to Information (RTI) Bill into law.
The Bill was passed after several policy changes, amendments and months of rigorous debates on the floor of parliament.
The RTI Bill had been in Parliament for close to two decades despite calls from the media and civil society groups for its passage.
The governing New Patriotic Party (NPP) promised during the 2016 election campaign to pass it if it won power.
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