Ghana passes ‘questionable’ RTI Bill after 20yrs

The Parliament of Ghana has finally passed the Right to Information Bill (RTI) that has been in the House for close to two decades.

The lawmakers from the two dominating political parties – New Patriotic Party (NPP) and National Democratic Congress (NDC) – gave their blessing to the Bill on Tuesday after the Third Reading.

But the news has been welcomed with a mixed feeling by Ghanaians, especially the Media Coalition on RTI.

The group, made up of media practitioners and civil society organisations, has questioned the integrity of the Bill passed by the legislators, claiming it contains some controversial clauses that needed to have been changed.

“We are happy if the Bill is a Bill that [is] credible, and will make access to information easy,” a dissatisfied leading member of the Coalition,
Elvis Darko said Wednesday.

He noted the group has grave issues with especially clause 13 of the Bill, which tends to insulate public institutions under the guise of protecting their administrative processes.

But “the deliberative process of every institution should be protected and they left it like that,” the Finder newspaper editor bemoaned.

The RTI Bill is one of Ghana’s oldest Bills, first drafted in 1999. It was reviewed in 2003, 2005 and 2007 but was presented to Parliament in 2010. It had since then been in and out of the House until the passage.

The Bill would have to be assented to by president Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo before it becomes a law.

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