Parliament committed to passing RTI bill but will not be pressured-MP

A member of the Constitutional and Legal Affairs Committee of Parliament, Ben Abdullah says it will be unfair for anyone to attack parliaments and accused them of showing leap service towards the passage of the Right to Information Bill (RTI).

The legislator said a lot of work has gone into the bill and still ongoing hence the need for Ghanaians to appreciate their efforts instead of attacking and insulting them.

He said out of the 90 clauses, they have managed to work on over 30. Aside that, amendments presented before them were over 190 and they have worked on a lot of them.

The MP cannot be rushed since it is important for it be scrutinized to ensure an effective and good bill.

He reiterated that no group or an individual would pressurise parliamentarians to pass the RTI.

He however, said the concerns raised by civil society groups and the media towards the passage of the bill are legitimate.

‘’We are still working on the bill but I will also encourage Ghanaians to have patience and allow parliamentarians to work on the bill efficiently so when it is passed, it will serve the purpose for which it was enacted,’’ he added.

Meanwhile, former President John Agyekum Kufuor has advised against any attempt to compromise our security because of the RTI.

Speaking at the Annual Leadership Series programme organised by the University of Professional Studies (UPSA) yesterday [Wednesday] December 12, 2018, he said: “The bill must be passed to achieve better governance but not at the expense of security.’’

He suggested “the real challenge [of the RTI Bill] is not about government refusing to pass the bill” but rather in ensuring the text of the bill is free from any security breaches.

“Let’s be careful about security and integrity part of the bill,” he cautioned.

The right to information  is a fundamental human right guaranteed by the country’s 1992 Constitution and recognized as a right under International Conventions on Human rights.

The bill will give 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 in a democratic society”.

It was first drafted 22 years ago under the auspices of the Institute of Economic Affairs, IEA.

The draft Executive Bill was subsequently reviewed in 2003, 2005 and 2007 but was never laid in Parliament until February 5, 2010.

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