Why ‘fuss’ over passage of RTI law when you were literally ‘forced’? - Government, parliament quizzed
The RTI Coalition though has welcomed the passage of the Right to Information Act (RTI), clearly has major issues with the extensive publicity government, some members of parliament and indeed some members of the public are attaching to it.
Leading member of the coalition, Samson Lardy Anyenini doesn’t fail to acknowledge the passage of the act but finds it rather unnecessary that so much credit is being taken for it when it actually is merely the fulfillment of a mandate as commanded by the constitution and more so was done only after so much pressure was piled on parliament and government.
“The law has been passed but there’s a lot of work to be done after the passage. I’ve heard people talk about celebration because of the passage of the law. For myself, I’m feeling the exhaustion, I am so exhausted, I am not in the mood at all to join any celebrations”.
Parliament finally approved the passage of Right to Information (RTI) Bill into law Tuesday 27 March 2019 following several policy changes, amendments and months of rigorous debates on the Floor of the House.
The RTI Bill had prior to this, been in Parliament for close to two decades despite calls from the media and civil society groups for its passage.
Speaking to Ghanaweb on the subject, Mr. Anyenini said the circumstances that led to the passage of the law are evidence enough that the interest of citizens have been toyed with.
“Why should a law that the constitution; the Supreme law of the country commands should be passed and the constitution has been in existence since 1992 - 93, and this law that article 21 commands should be passed to enable the citizens to fully exercise the rights of access to information has been toyed with” he stated.
“It has taken citizens, it has taken the RTI Coalition, it has taken persons to use their individual efforts and influence to campaign, crusade and literally pressure government to pay attention to the law. This law is one of the basic, fundamental to the individual citizen’s exercise of their right to information and yet the members of parliament who claim to represent the interest of citizens in that house have had to wait and to be compelled literally before they would pass that law, for me, it throws up a lot of questions”, he continued.
Attempts to describe the passage of the law as ‘benevolence’ to citizens he said is insulting particularly considering the fact that public resources had been wasted in previous times in the name of ‘consultations’ by both parliaments and yet zero results were seen.
“The fifth parliament went around the country, solicited views in the name of consultations, got the law ready, it didn’t pass it, do you know what that meant? Waste of public resources. The sixth parliament repeated the same exercise, in the end, they didn’t pass it, waste of public resource and this seventh parliament also had to wait for so much pressure to be exerted and then eventually, it has passed it”, he said.
Adding, “We can’t take it away from them, we must say congratulations, it’s been done but I don’t think that there is particular need for any commendations for what is a duty to be done to the public. I don’t think it is done and ought to be seen as someone’s benevolence to the citizens, I think that is an insult to the citizens”.
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