Private legal practitioners Ace Ankomah has described as cowards all political players from both the NPP and the NDC who have failed to pass the Right To Information, RTI, bill.
Ace Ankomah noted that the political players from both divides are afraid of passing the RTI bill because they believe it will not go in their favour.
According to him, the passing of the RTI bill will aid the office of special prosecutor in an immense way.
“But politicians will in opposition promise Ghanaians they will pass it when voted into power but will later sit without doing anything.”
He called on the NPP government as a matter of urgency to pass the RTI bill as promised.
The right to information is a fundamental human right guaranteed by the country’s 1992 Constitution and recognized as a right under International Conventions on Human rights.
The bill as it has been drafted, is to give substance to Article 21 (1) (f) of the Constitution which states that “All persons shall have the right to information subject to such qualifications and laws as are necessary in a democratic society”.
The Right to Information Bill was first drafted in 1999 under the former president, Jerry John Rawlings. Various advocacy groups emerged to press for the immediate passing of the bill into law in 2002. The draft bill was reviewed in 2003, 2005 and 2007.
The National Democratic Congress (NDC) in its 2008 and 2012 election manifestos promised to ensure the bill is passed. In 2010, the bill was presented to Parliament for consideration.
In 2011, the government signed unto the Open Government Partnership (OGP) Initiative with a commitment to pass by the bill. In November 2013, the bill was formally laid before parliament.
Former Attorney General, Deputy Dominic Ayine in 2015, moved the bill for second reading in Parliament. In October 2016, the bill was withdrawn and a replaced with a new one which was immediately laid.
Following the dissolution of the Sixth Parliament of the Fourth Republic and the swearing-in of new Parliament in January 2017, the bill is no longer in parliament.
It must be reintroduced to the House by the new government before work commences on it again.
Gov’t’s commitment to passing RTI bill
Rockson Ayine Bukari, the Upper East Regional Minister, on Wednesday said the government was committed to passing the Right to Information (RTI) Bill into law to deepen the democratic dispensation of the country through transparency and accountability.
He said the law would ensure that the media had easy access to information from public institutions that would enable them hold duty bearers accountable for actions that were detrimental to the growth of the nation.
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