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RTI Coalition Fear Parliament Will Abandon Bill
 
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28-Sep-2016  
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Members of the Coalition on the Right to Information (RTI) have expressed fear that the country’s decade old information bill would not be passed before the end of the Sixth Parliament.

The Coalition, in a statement to the Ghana News Agency, in Accra, noted that: “Being an election year, the failure by the 6th Parliament to pass the Bill before its tenure lapses would mean that the process will have to commence all over again with a new Parliament.”

The Coalition said the progress to secure the review and passage of the Bill, since 2013 when the executive resubmitted it before legislators, had been “very slow.”

The consideration of the Bill was stalled in June 2016 due to the “lack of political will” by Parliament to give priority to the Bill at the Consideration Stage.

The Coalition said it petitioned President John Dramani Mahama, through the Chief of Staff, on August 18, this year, appealing to the President “to deliver on his Party’s previous manifesto promises,” but “till date the Coalition has not received any response to the petition.

“It is interesting to read the NDC’s 2016 Manifesto promising as part of its 2017 to 2021 commitments to ‘implement the Right to Information Bill when passed by Parliament, same promise that was made in 2012,” it said.

According to the Coalition, the NDC omitted “very relevant” part of the 2012 manifesto in its 2016 policy document, which had stated, “The next NDC administration will…and work with the Legislature to prioritise the passage of the Freedom of Information Bill.”

The Coalition also questioned whether Ghanaians should wait for another four years before the law was put in place, saying “as Co-Chair of eminent persons on the SDGs and given that the UNESCO’s celebration this year focus on ‘powering sustainable development with public access to information, shouldn’t the passage of RTI law be a priority now?

“We would like President Mahama to know that Ghana as the beacon of democracy in Africa, as he emphasised at the recent UN General Assembly is lagging behind in terms of promoting access to information for citizens to effectively participate in governance and make informed choices,” the statement said.

Many African countries, including those in democratic transitions, have passed the Right to Information Bill.

They are; South Sudan, Guinea, Niger, Cote d’Ivoire, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Togo, Nigeria, Rwanda, and most recently, Kenya and Tanzania.
 
 
 
Source: GNA
 
 

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