Coalition gives gov’t 10-day ultimatum to lay RTI bill

Coalition gives gov’t 10-day ultimatum to lay RTI bill
Source: Ghana|| SOKA| @TheSaintOswald
Date: 14-03-2018 Time: 03:03:04:pm

A Civil Society Organisation has given the government a 10-day ultimatum to lay the Right To Information (RTI) bill before parliament.

The group, Right To Information Coalition says it is time the over 10-year-old tussle over the bill ends.

Speaking to Joy News after the launch of their new campaign, a member of the group, Dr Kojo Asante says the bill must be laid before parliament rises on March 23 if President Akufo-Addo’s promise of the bill becoming law in 2018 is to be met.

“…we understand that parliament rises on March 23…so the minimum for us is for the bill to be laid before parliament rises”, he said.

Dr Asante said that will give the Members of Parliament (MPs) the chance to do a broad consultation on the bill during recess and then pass it when they reconvene.

He further stated that they will advise themselves if this demand is not met because “there is no need to wait any longer”.

The ultimatum follows the latest assurance by the president to have the bill passed into law before the tenure of this Parliament ends.

Read: Akufo-Addo to ensure parliament passes RTI in 2018

“After many years of hesitation, we intend to bring a Bill again to Parliament and work to get it passed into law before Parliament rises”, the President said during his 61st Anniversary of Independence celebration.

Proximity to being passed in 2016

The previous parliament under the Speakership of Edward Doe Adjaho in its dying days had attempted passing the bill but the then minority New Patriotic Party thwarted the process.

The then Minority leader in parliament Osei Kyei Mensah Bonsu said the haste with which the then majority National Democratic Congress (NDC) was trying to push the Bill through shortly after losing the 2016 election was unacceptable and a violation of the Presidential Transition Act.

Doe Adjaho shot down that argument and stated that he was merely carrying out a constitutional responsibility.

"We have a bill before us and I am doing my work as Speaker of Parliament," he said, adding "The Presidential Transition Act is not Parliamentary Transition Act."

But an angered Mensah Bonsu fired back and stated that the NPP MPs will walk out if the NDC attempted passing the bill because according to him the NDC did not consult the incoming government on the bill, and that was contrary to law.

Special Prosecutor

There has also been a lot of public outcry for the bill to be passed following the swearing in of the Special Prosecutor.

Martin Amidu as Special Prosecutor is expected to prosecute both past and incumbent corrupt public office holders.

The office was created to eliminate the tag of witch hunting while prosecuting corruption cases.

Some CSOs and politicians including Project Consultant to the RTI Coalition, Ugonna Ukaigwe and General Secretary of NDC Asiedu Nketia have argued that the SP will suffer in his duties should the RTI bill be further delayed.

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