RTI Coalition mounts pressure for passage of bill

Mr Edward Doe Adjaho,Speaker of Parliament (2)Government has been urged to engage Parliament to, as a matter of urgency pass the Right to Information (R.T.I) Bill with all the amendments before the 6th Parliament’s term ends in January 2017.

Making the call at a Press Conference in Accra yesterday, the Coalition on the Right to Information, Ghana said Ghanaians would not want the RTI Bill to become an empty campaign promise which was shelved after elections.

Mr. Vitus Azeem, speaking on behalf of the National Steering Committee of the coalition asked Ghanaians to reject politicians who continue to pay lip services to the passage of the bill.

“What we can promise government and members of parliament is that there is a price to be paid for their refusal to pass the RTI Bill with the necessary amendments into law”, he said.

He said that many Members of Parliament (MPs) have confirmed receiving many petitions from their constituents regarding the delay in the passage of the bill and have done nothing about it, “are they not taking the constituents for granted?”

“We would also like our parliamentarians to tell us whose interest they are actually serving”, he said.

Mr. Azeem said the coalition would also like to draw the attention of the President to note that the failure to pass the RTI Bill this year, would mean that the National Democratic Congress (NDC) government has again lied not only to Ghanaians but to the International Community about its commitment to the passage of the bill.

He said government had also demonstrated her unwillingness for the second time to fulfil her obligations under the Open Government Partnership (OGP) Initiative as well as the country’s obligation under the International Covenant on Civil and political Right (ICCPR).

“Therefore, the failure for the government to pass the RTI Bill this year will mean that the NDC government cannot be trusted and that government’s proclaimed commitments to the fight against corruption are mere words without actions,” he said.

Mr. Azeem said the Coalition would like to reiterate that, while it demands the passage of the bill, “we hope that this silence on the part of the Executive and the Legislature is not a strategy to rush the passage of the bill into law without the necessary amendments.

He said the Coalition did not need any kind of RTI Law which was bereft of elements to make it an effective law that would help in promoting transparency, accountability and democratic participation.

Mr. Azeem said Parliament had passed bills under certificate of urgency because the Executive had an interest in those bills however; the passage of RTI had delayed for this long because it was supposed to give information power to the people.

He said if other bills could be passed under Certificate of urgency the same treatment should be extended to RTI bill which ensured accountability for all the laws passed by Parliament, especially when parliament gave its word at an International conference that it would pass the bill before July 26, 2016.

By Lawrence Markwei



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