RTI coalition to sue govt if…

Mr Ampaw

Mr Ampaw

The Coalition of Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) on the Right to Information (RTI) Bill is threatening legal action if the bill is passed with exemptions that are inconsistent with the Constitution.

According to them, the bill if passed must reflect the reality that leaders in a democratic state are servants of the people.

A member of the coalition, Akoto Ampaw, a private legal practitioner threatened during the coalition’s visit to Parliament to protest the delay in the passage of the RTI Bill.

“State bodies saying they cannot disclose information defeats the whole purpose of RTI and that is why you will always find out in the process of the RTI, there are always strong battles between people who stand for transparency, openness and accountability and those who want to continue the old, archaic, authoritarian tradition of control and secrecy in governance.

“Unfortunately there are people in parliament who are for the continuing secrecy, control, anti democratic policy and some of them are even saying the RTI is a threat to the nation.

“Parliament has a duty under the constitution to ensure their exemptions are consistent with the provisions of the constitution, they are parliamentarians, they suppose we can have their say and they will have our day but if they go ahead and mutilate the exemption provision, we are ready to take whatever law they pass to the Supreme Court to strike it down as inconsistent with Article 21 (1) of the constitution.

“If parliament as exercising the power of government, passes the RTI bill into law, which frustrates the constitutional provision the citizenry have access to information we will challenge it,” Mr. Ampaw cautioned.

A Deputy Minister of Information, Nana Ama Dokua has said although the bill must be passed, it must be done in such a way it would serve a good purpose saying “although we wish the bill is passed, we also want to have a bill that will be useful, it is not up to the executive to rush parliament, but must go through the bill to make amendments before it is passed, I think it is in our interest to have the bill passed.

Following the dissolution of the Sixth Parliament of the Fourth Republic, and the swearing-in of the new Parliament in January 2017, the Bill had to be re-laid by the new government for work to commence on it. –citinewsroom.com

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