Educate public about RTI law

 Article 21 (f) of the country’s 1992 Constitution grants every Ghanaian the right to information regarding public sector affairs and governance in general.

The principle of the Right to Information (RTI) is that it empowers every citizen to seek any information from the government and man­dates timely response to the requests.

Ordinarily, some Ghanaians thought that once the RTI was enshrined in the consti­tution, it was not going to be difficult to apply it in the country.

Even though the RTI is a fundamental right, there was the need for an RTI Act or law to guarantee this right.

However, since 1993, no political administration would enact the law to promote this right until March 26, 2019 when the RTI Act, 2019 (Act 989) was passed by Parlia­ment under the Akufo-Addo administration.

The law outlines the proce­dure by which the public information being sought could be accessed.

Since the law was passed, the government has estab­lished the Right to Informa­tion Commission, which is the place where this funda­mental right of access to information as enshrined in the 1992 Constitution of the country is assured and guaranteed.

That is to say that the gov­ernment is bent on ensuring that the RTI law is not just on paper but applied and where there are difficulties, there should be an avenue to redress them.

Yesterday, the Ministry of Information, led by its minis­ter, Kojo Oppong Nkrumah, said access to information requests had witnessed remarkable increase over the last three years following the implementation of the RTI Act.

The statistics really look pretty good but the public need to know which kinds of information were sought and responses given, if possible.

For instance, were requests on corrupt practices by pub­lic officials entertained?

We are saying this because when, at least, some of the pieces of information sought are made available, others too may be encouraged to make requests.

It is interesting to note that a good percentage of the citizenry wish to know many things the government and its ministries and agencies are doing but they do not know how to.

Besides, some of them think they could be denied the answers and even heck­led, so they will not go and waste time and dissipate their energies on undertakings that will not yield them any satisfaction.

This must not be treated as hearsay or conjecture because some members of the public think their low-class status does not guarantee them cer­tain rights all because public officials who should help them enjoy such rights show them much disdain.

We hope the Right To Information Commission would take up the challenge to see what it can do about this.

We hear the Commission celebrates RTI Week. Where and how does it do this and which people does it target?

People want answers to some vexed public issues and so must be encouraged to use their right to information to access such answers.

If the Commission should collaborate with the Na­tional Commission on Civic Education to do so, it must do it to get the general public informed about the RTI law and the need to take advan­tage of it.

Show More
Back to top button