The Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs (MoPA) has held a day’s dialogue programme with Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) to discuss the smooth implementation of the Right To Information (RTI) Law which has just been passed by the Parliament of Ghana.
The programme which was dubbed, “A Dialogue with CSOs” and held under the theme: “Towards the Implementation of the RTI Law; CSOs contribution”, brought together partner Civil Society Organizations and the Media Coalition who have been collaborators in advocacy to ensure the passage of the Bill, as well as the Leadership of Parliament and some Members of the Parliament.
The Right To Information Law is seeking to give flesh to Article 21 (1) of the 1992 constitution which guarantees the citizens’ rights to access public information in order to enhance democratic governance in the country subject to exemptions necessary to protect the national interest.
Prior to its passage into Law on March 26, 2019, the RTI Bill had been one of the most delayed pieces of legislations in the history of the country’s Fourth Republican Parliament, straddling the life of three different parliaments since its introduction into the legislative house in the year 2010.
The Chief Director of the Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs, Dr. Evans Aggrey Darko, in his welcome address indicated that the purpose of the ‘Dialogue’ programme with the CSOs was to create the platform for a continuous discussion with all interested parties to facilitate the implementation of the Act after its passage.
Parliament has deferred the implementation of the Act till the beginning of the 2020 financial year in January next year, in order to make room in the budget for the funding of its activities for effective operationalization of the law.
In his address, the Minister for Parliamentary Affairs and Majority Leader in Parliament, Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, revealed that the Act is still receiving some treatment in the bosom of Parliament after one month of its passage. He however assured that it would soon be forwarded to the President for his assent after it has been properly cleaned up by the legislative drafters.
The MP for the Tamale Central Constituency, Inusah Fuseini, who doubles as the Ranking Member on the Committee on Constitutional, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs, which shepherded the RTI bill into its passage into an Act, remarked that, “If the law is properly implemented, it would change the balance of power in the country.”
A Member of the RTI Coalition, Lawyer Akoto Ampaw who spoke on behalf of the CSOs, proposed a number of measures for the smooth implementation of the law after it has been assented to by the President.
Chief among the CSO’s proposal is the establishment of an implementation coalition made up of both state and non-state actors such as the National Commission on Civic Education (NCCE), Ministry of Information, Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs (MoPA), representatives of Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) and the media.
Source: Clement Akoloh||Africanewsradio.com