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General News of Thursday, 2 February 2017


Bawumia wants Right to Information Bill passed in 100 days

Vice President, Dr. Bawumia Vice President, Dr. Bawumia

Vice President Dr Mahamudu Bawumia has said he wishes the Right To Information Bill were passed within the first 100 days of the Akufo-Addo government.

Speaking at a Good Corporate Governance Initiative event in Accra on Tuesday, 31 January, Dr Bawumia said in line with the new government’s resolve to fight corruption, "we are going to have to push parliament to make the necessary amendments and if I had my way, it should be passed within these first 100 days of this government," adding: "It brings transparency in our governance."

The bill has been before parliament for about a decade. Successive governments have been accused of not showing commitment towards its passage.

In the dying embers of his administration, Mr John Mahama said he was hopeful the sixth parliament would pass the bill before its expiration. It however, never happened.

The right to information, also known as freedom of information is an internationally recognised fundamental human right to access information held by government bodies. It is also based on the democratic principle that in a democracy, the sovereignty of a nation lies in the hands of the people in whose name and on whose behalf government exercise powers.

In Ghana this is affirmed by Article 1(1) of the 1992 Constitution which categorically states that ‘the sovereignty of Ghana resides in the people of Ghana in whose name and for whose welfare the powers of government are to be exercised.’ This principle is affirmed by article 21(1)(f) of the same Constitution which grants ‘all persons . The right to information subject to such qualifications and laws as are necessary in a democratic society’.

The right to information is fundamental to the realisation of economic and social rights as well as civil and political rights. The right to information lays the foundation upon which to build good governance, transparency, accountability, participation, and check arbitrariness and corruption in public life.

It will be recalled that the RTI Bill was first laid before Parliament on 5 February 2010. It has gone through a lot of amendments and changes but is still yet to be passed.

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