General News of Sunday, 23 December 2018
The Speaker of Parliament, Prof. Aaron Mike Ocquaye, has asked civil society groups to “leave” parliament alone to finish work on the Right to Information Bill.
According to Prof. Ocquaye, Parliament has completed 80% of work on the bill and will pass it by February 2019.
“While parliament is working hard to pass the Right of Information bill, certain persons and institutions are acting as if we are drooling off on the bill. this is fallacious and I will be glad if the media will seriously correct this impression. The bill has seen several years and several parliaments, and it is tricky in many ways. The budget and other important matters came on the way. We have done 80% of the work already, we will finish the bill fully, I believe, and professionally on or before the end of February 2019.
“The public should please trust us and leave us alone for now to do a good job. We are committed to passing the bill and we are working towards it. No civil society group should, at this belated hour, jump on our backs and pretend as if they are the people interested in the passage of this bill,” Prof. Ocquaye noted in his closing remarks of the 3rd meeting of the 7th Parliament Saturday night.
The RTI is a fundamental human right guaranteed by Ghana’s 1992 Constitution and ratified as a right under International Conventions on Human rights.
The RTI bill was drafted in 1999 and reviewed in 2003, 2005 and 2007 but was not presented to Parliament.
The bill was presented to Parliament on February 5, 2010 but has since not been passed despite undergoing countless number of amendments. The delay in the passage of the bill has attracted many groups in recent times including the Media coalition on RTI to exert torrid pressure on Parliament to pass the bill before it rises.