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General News of Thursday, 22 December 2016

Source: Myjoyonline.com

NPP sudden opposition to RTI bill 'absurd, shameless, pathetic' - Ayenini

Two legal practitioners have expressed shock at the Minority's sudden opposition to the passage of the Right to Information Bill after a 13-year wait to see the light of day.

Regional Coordinator of Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative Mina Mensah and Host of Joy News' Newsfile, Samson Lardy took turns to severely castigate the Minority in parliament after they threatened to walk out of parliament if the Majority goes ahead to pass the bill.

The Minority say the move by the Majority is a last-minute decision following the National Democratic Congress (NDC) government's defeat in the December 7 general elections.



Minority leader, Osei Kyei Mensah Bonsu says the rapid way government is conducting its activities few days to its handing over contravenes the Presidential Transition Act 2012 (845).

The NPP MPs wants some necessary consultation to be done before it cooperates.
The incoming administration has been resisting other government decisions claiming they ought to be consulted by the exiting government.

In a predictable response, Human Rights and pro-democracy groups are incensed.
"I am surprised. extremely surprised. I don't know what the agenda of the NPP is," Mina Mensah is dismayed.

She recalled that the Minority has for years accused the majority of feetdragging and the government of lacking political will.

She said if at last an exiting government wants to do what everyone agrees to be the needful, the Minority must not become a sudden stumbling block.

"I don't understand. Is it about Ghana" her disbelief continued.

Samson Lardy Ayenini described the Minority's resistance as baffling. He said while consultation is not bad in itself, the Minority are using this excuse to "absurd, shameless" and "pathetic" levels.

Explaining the enormous effort invested in the bill, Samson Lardy also recalled that it he led the Multimedia Group Limited to petition the Speaker of Parliament over the delay.



He recalled that both sides of the House raised issues they wanted to amend. Informed by these concerns, the pro-RTI groups made several changes and submitted a 21-page report touching on five critical issues raised by the House.

"All of those were taken care of...all of those were clearly accepted by the committee," Samson said.

He said the Speaker of Parliament Rt. Hon Edward Doe Adjaho vowed to "deal with the [bill] everyday" of Parliamentary sitting until the bill is finally passed.

"They did it for about four days or so and then they abandoned it" Samson expressed disappointment.

He said this new delay is a waste to the tax payer because after six batches of parliament, the bill is still pending.

The Minority NPP will become the majority NPP after a new government is sworn in on January 7, 2017 following the NPP's victory at the December 7 polls.
He suspects the Minority are against the bill because it wants to get the credit as the party that passed the bill.

"It baffles me that the Minority is reducing this to who will get the credit...we have wasted the state resources. I mean it is baffling.