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“I am ashamed to be part of the Parliament which has failed to pass the Right to Information Bill over the years.”
The above is a quote from the Member of Parliament (MP) for the Tamale Central Constituency, Inusa Fuseini, who confessed to the public on Joy FM’s news analysis show, Newsfile on Saturday morning.
The host of the programme, Samson Lardy Ayeneni, sought to question the delay in the passage of the Bill after a barrage of failed promises to pass the RTI Bill into law have left the public disillusioned about the priority the authorities attach to the citizen’s access to information in a democratic country such as Ghana.
The Tamale Central Legislator, who is also the Ranking Member on Parliament’s Committee on Legal, Constitutional and Parliamentary Affairs, has always displayed his personal support for the passage of the Bill which is expected to bring sunshine into governance by making basic information available to the citizenry concerning the administration of the state.
Aside the individual opposition to the passage of the Bill demonstrated by the Member of Parliament for the Adansi Asukwa constituency, K. T. Hamond, the collective body language of the Legislative arm of Government has also not given the public enough reason to believe that the passage of the Bill into law is a priority.
All appeals made by Civil Society Organizations and most recently, a concerted effort by the Media Coalition on RTI and the CSOs Coalition for the passage of an RTI Bill has fallen on death ears. Despite some promises made by the Majority Leader, Osei-Kyei Mensah-Bonsu, to the effect that the Bill would be passed before the reading of the 2019 Budget on November 15, 2018, this has been over taken by events with the Bill still at its consideration stage. After the budget reading, not even a single clause on the Bill has been considered by the House.
Currently, the Second Session of the Seventh Parliament of Ghana has less than two weeks to expire, however the Majority Leader has given another promise that Parliament may pass the Bill before the year 2018 comes to an end.
The Right to Information Bill was drafted in 1999 and reviewed in 2003, 2005 and 2007 but was not presented to Parliament until February 5, 2010 in the 5th Parliament. It was brought back in the 6th Parliament in June 2015 and after a failed attempt to get it passed before the expiration of the life of the sixth Parliament, it was reintroduced in the Seventh Parliament where it is currently at the consideration stage.
The Media Coalition in collaboration with the CSO Coalition for the Passage of the RTI Bill have been engaging in campaigns to put pressure on the system to get the law passed. Some of the activities of the campaign include, the RTI Red Friday, the RTI Street Sensitization programmes and RTI peace walks, among others.
The Coalitions have been operating with the hashtags: #PassTheRTIBillNow, #PassItNow, #RTIRedFriday.
Source: Clement Akoloh || Africanewsradio.com