RTI Media Coalition to begin publishing names of absentee MPs in media today

General News of Thursday, 1 November 2018

Source: newswiregh.com

2018-11-01

The RTI Bill consideration was ended by the Speaker after more than two-thirds of MPs were absent

The Media Coalition on RTI has issued a stern caution to Members of Parliament who take pride in absenting themselves from the House.

The coalition stress that beginning today November 1, 2018, names of absentee MPs during the sitting especially when it is time for the consideration of the RTI Bill will be published on various media platforms.

This action comes on the back of Parliament’s decision to abruptly end the deliberations of the RTI Bill in parliament after Adansi Asokwa MP Kobina Tahir Hammond pointed out that the House was not properly constituted to consider the Bill.

Parliament’s Standing Order 48(2) requires that more than one-third of its members must be present for a quorum to be formed to enable the House to attend to issues.

The coalition asserts that it is deeply taken aback by the action of parliament despite acknowledging the appropriateness of the applied standing orders.

“Beginning tomorrow 1st November, 2018, the Coalition, with support from Parliamentary Network Africa (PNAfrica) and the Parliamentary Press Corp, will put in place measures to take note of the names of all MPs present in Chamber whenever the RTI Bill is called for Consideration, and will publish the names of all MPs who are absent for the information of their constituents. This we believe will ensure that a quorum is present at all time in Parliament for a good work to be done on the Bill” the coalition stated in a press release issued Wednesday.

It observed that the trend of actions taken by K. T. Hammond any time the Bill was up for consideration and emphasised “We are minded by the fact that Mr. K. T. Hammond, has since the year 2016 adopted this path of raising quorum issues whenever the RTI Bill is under consideration. It has become necessary that our elected representatives are in the Chamber at all times to do the work they are paid to do.”

Together with other stakeholders, the Media Coalition on RTI Bill has expressed their commitment to strictly monitor the process in hope that government keeps its word to pass the Bill before the 15th of November, 2018 when the budget will be read.

Find below the full details of the press statement

PRESS RELEASE

CONSIDERATION OF RTI BILL ENDS ABRUPTLY IN PARLIAMENT FOR LACK OF QUORUM

The Media Coalition on RTI observed with great joy the resumption of work on the RTI Bill this afternoon in accordance with the pledge by Parliament yesterday to “start in earnest with the Consideration Stage of the Right to Information Bill, 2018, with the aim of completing its consideration before the introduction of the Budget Statement…” We are happy that our efforts in the last two days and earlier efforts by other well-meaning Ghanaians and organisations are yielding results.

As we congratulate Parliament for listening to the voice of the people, we are taken aback by the abrupt end of the process after about one hour of working on it due to a motion on the lack of quorum in the House raised by the Hon. MP for Adansi Asokwa, Mr. Kobina Tahir Hammond. Parliament’s Standing Order 48(2) requires that “If at the time of Sitting a Member takes notice or objection that there are present in the House, besides the person presiding, less than one-third of the number of all the Members of Parliament, and after an interval of ten minutes a quorum is not present, the person presiding shall adjourn the House without Question put until the next sitting day.” We, therefore, understood why the Speaker had no choice but to bring the subject to a close, although other concerns such as the tight schedule of the Committee responsible for the Bill were also raised.

We are minded by the fact that Mr. K. T. Hammond, has since the year 2016 adopted this path of raising quorum issues whenever the RTI Bill is under consideration. It has become necessary that our elected representatives are in the Chamber at all times to do the work they are paid to do.

Beginning tomorrow 1st November, 2018, the Coalition, with support from Parliamentary Network Africa (PNAfrica) and the Parliamentary Press Corp, will put in place measures to take note of the names of all MPs present in Chamber whenever the RTI Bill is called for Consideration, and will publish the names of all MPs who are absent for the information of their constituents. This we believe will ensure that a quorum is present at all time in Parliament for a good work to be done on the Bill

We call on the leadership of both sides of the House, especially the Whips, to ensure that their Members avail themselves for the task entrusted to them.

Having taken note of the indicative date for the Budget reading (15th November 2018), we will gladly countdown the days from now until then to see if Parliament will live up to its pledge of passing the Bill before the Budget reading. We call on all Civil Society Organisations and other stakeholders who have been supporting parliament in this process, including all media practitioners, to continue to support the august House to deliver excellence for the good people of Ghana.

Issued in Accra for Immediate Release

Steering Committee, Media Coalition on RTI

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