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The Right To Information Act – Expanding The Frontiers Of Ghana’s Democracy - P4C Research   
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On Sunday 24th March, 2019, the Honorable Minister for Information, in a press briefing announced that the Right to Information Bill will be passed into law. A couple of days later, true to his words, on Tuesday 26th March, 2019, Parliament passed the Right to Information Act.

It has taken two decades for this important piece of legislation to be passed. This law is rightly recognised by many as a key element in the jigsaw puzzle in the fight against corruption.

It effectively opens government up to public scrutiny based on solid facts and figures and not conjectures. The fears of some politicians that passing this law will be akin to government shooting itself in the foot is not ungrounded.

It takes a bold government, such as the one being led by H.E. Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, to pass such a legislation. No doubt that some politicians, including those who are members of government will not be happy with this law.

Nonetheless, for those who know and have followed the President’s vision for this country, it does not come as a surprise given that he has consistently reiterated his commitment to rid our dear nation of corruption by making it very unattractive.

He has on countless occasions demonstrated his support for free speech and expression and worked assiduously to promote these fundamental human rights in our democracy. It is to be recalled that it was under his leadership as Attorney General that the criminal libel laws of Ghana were repealed thereby encouraging public political debate and criticism of government without fear.

The RTI law therefore, is only one of the manifestations of this unflinching commitment to building a strong democracy devoid of corruption besides the Office of the Special Prosecutor Act.

One of the globally accepted anti-corruption strategies is the sunshine campaign. Having a right to information legislation therefore is a major boost for the sunshine campaign against corruption.

As the first female President of the Republic of Kosovo, Atifete Jahjaga appositely remarked: “Democracy must be built through open societies that share information. When there is information, there is enlightenment. When there is debate, there are solutions. When there is no sharing of power, no rule of law, no accountability, there is abuse, corruption, subjugation and indignation.”

The passage of the Right to Information Act is indubitably another bold step towards the attainment of a Ghana Beyond Aid.

This is because, citizens can now effectively play their roles as “citizens and not spectators” and contribute meaningfully to the development agenda in their districts and communities.

It is also a potential source of employment as persons can now set up Information Bureaus to assist citizens access information from government both at the national level and the Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs).

Finally, Ghana takes position as the 128th country in the world to pass this law. With Ghana being a member of the Open Government Partnership (OGP) and President Akufo-Addo as a Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) Ambassador, the passage of the Right to Information Act will certainly be refreshing news to the international community as well as a major boost to our democratic credentials with its attendant advantages.

Clifford Bansah
Head, Research and Advocacy
Source: Peacefmonline.com

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