Article 21 (1) (f) of Ghana’s Constitution states that “All persons shall have the right to information subject to such qualifications and laws as are necessary in a democratic society” and this makes the Right to Information bill, mandatory as prescribed by our constitution.
Member of Parliament for Banda constituency, Hon. Ahmed Ibrahim explains to Peacefmonline.com that Parliament is working on right processes Ghanaians would use in soliciting information should the Right to Information bill be passed into law.
The Deputy Majority Chief Whip argued that the passage of the bill into a law has been long overdue.
“Parliament should have passed the RTI bill into law long ago. It is a mandatory, compulsory and the constitution backs everybody to access public information. The house is currently considering the processes one must follow to access public information”, he said.
He mentioned that it was during the tenure of ex-president Kufour that he should the zeal to enforce the RTI bill into a law but added that certain actions by some cilvil society prevented that from materializing.
“The late former President Mills also tried his best to pass the bill into law but anytime he tried, certain civil society movements and coalition to the right of information stood against him.
As at that time, the groups argued that the bill would not help Ghanaians if passed by parliament”, he said.
He advised that inasmuch as Ghana is trying to emulate other advanced countries who have passed the RTI into a law, we should make it a point to give grace period of about 5years to study the law should we eventually pass it into a law.
“Recently the UK faced challenges with their right to information law”, he highlighted.
Hon. Ahmed Ibrahim is optimistic parliament would soon pass the RTI bill into law. President Mahama, in his view has demonstrated commitment just as his predecessors have done in ensuring the bill is passed.
He also acknowledged the contributions of World Bank in the fight to achieve the feat.
“The World Bank has pumped a lot of money into RTI program and they did this by assembling the Select Committee on Constitutional, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs to tour the country in order to sensitize Ghanaians on the right to information law”.
The Banda MP noted that “the RTI bill had passed the committee and consultation stage, and was currently at the consideration stage.”
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