Minority Leader in Parliament Haruna Iddrisu says a celebration of the passing of the long awaited Right To Information Bill by the incumbent government will be contradictory seeing that the latter spearheaded the obstructing of its passage at an earlier submission.
Although not the ‘ideal’ bill for all concerned parties, the MP for Tamale South stated that “every law passed by Parliament is a good law” and thus could be operational for now.
Mr. Iddrisu stated that the bill could be reviewed and amended if the need arose but noted that the bill will deepen accountability in the governance and government institutions as well as promote transparency.
Speaking to journalists during an adjournment of sitting in the House, he explained that the window to tighten the loose ends in the bill in order to make it fully ready and apt.
Asked what he made of the Akufo-Addo administration taking credit for the passing of the Right To Information Bill, the Minority Leader maintained that it would be a much ado about nothing as members of the then Minority in Parliament opposed the bill when it was presented by former Speaker of Parliament Doe Adjaho describing it as a last grasp move by the Mahama administration after losing the 2016 elections.
“… I have no difficulty with them saying that it was passed under us when they are the same people who obstructed its passage; go back to the records, when honourable Adjaho reintroduced it before January 2017. So you don’t obstruct and come back and take credit”, he concluded
The RTI is supposed to be a fundamental human right guaranteed by the Constitution and recognized as a right under International Conventions on Human rights.
The passage of the Bill gives substance to Article 21 (1) (f) of the Constitution which states that “All persons shall have the right to information subject to such qualifications and laws as are necessary for a democratic society.”
The RTI Bill was first drafted in 1999 under former President, Jerry John Rawlings.
The National Democratic Congress (NDC) in its 2008 and 2012 election manifestos promised to ensure the Bill was passed. In 2010, it was presented to Parliament for consideration.
In 2011, the government signed unto the Open Government Partnership (OGP) Initiative with a commitment to pass the law. In November 2013, the Bill was formally laid before Parliament.
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Former Attorney General, Deputy Dominic Ayine in 2015, moved the Bill for second reading in Parliament. In October 2016, the Bill was withdrawn and replaced with a new one which was immediately laid.
Following the dissolution of the Sixth Parliament of the Fourth Republic and the swearing-in of new Parliament in January 2017, the Bill had to be re-laid by the new government before work commences on it.