By Papisdaff Abdullah.
The Centre for Democratic Development (CDD) has accused the governing New Patriotic Party and the opposition National Democratic Congress of colluding against the Right to Information (RTI) bill. The RTI bill was laid before Parliament by the Deputy Attorney General Joseph Kpemka Dindiok in March this year. It has been 22 years since the first RTI bill was drafted under the auspices of the Institute of Economic Affairs, IEA and 16 years since the Executive arm of government in 2002 drafted the first RTI bill. The draft Executive Bill was subsequently reviewed in 2003, 2005 and 2007 but was never laid in Parliament until February 5, 2010. “…If there’s one, or two or three things that the two main political parties [NPP and NDC] align, agree to, then, it is this RTI that they don’t want. I think that’s what it is,” says Deputy Director of the CDD, Dr Franklin Oduro at a roundtable discussion on METOGU anti-corruption report in Accra. He continued, “My own view is that these two parties have demonstrated that they don’t want the RTI. So there’s no blame game between them, the NDC and the NPP. “Until they pass that law and not passing any law but the good law, I will still stand by my position that the two main parties…especially those represented in parliament have sort of come into secret understanding that let’s not get this law passage,” he added.
RTI will be law by end of 2018
Speaking at a press launch on March 26 as Ghana joined the rest of the world to mark the World Press Freedom Day, former Information Minister, Mustapha Hamid assured that the RTI bill will be passed into law by the end of 2018. “We have shown our commitment in this past year that we have come into office with a commitment to pass the Right to Information bill…the Right to Information bill is going to become law by the close of this year,” said Hamid who is now Zongo and Inner Cities Development Minister following President Akufo-Addo’s maiden reshuffle.
RTI’s passage will end media speculation
According to private legal practitioner Samson Lardy Anyenini, the passage of the RTI bill into would bring an end to the culture of media speculations in the country as public officials would be mandated by law to supply journalists and the public information requested of them. “Your ethics that say that you should be fair and deal with the fact will be upheld because you will get the fact. You will not be speculating. You will not be running rumours on media every morning in the name of a morning show,” he said at a Seminar organized by the Ghana Journalists Association (GJA) – Ghana Institute of Journalism (GIJ) chapter earlier this year. “They are bound by law to supply you the contract and every information so as a journalist, you will be dealing with facts and figures that the law compels the public officials to give to you,” he added.