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Opinions of Thursday, 22 March 2018

Columnist: Ofori Gyan Mebro Albert

The Right To Information Bill: Let my say have its way

Dear Mr President,

I know and I can attest to the fact that you have done significant amount of work in just a year and quarter months to set the right foundation for much needed Change Ghanaians voted for.

Your restoration of the scrapped teacher and nursing trainees allowance by the NDC government, introduction of the paperless port transactions which has made port revenue goes up by 56%, the national digital property address system and the most messiah one is the introduction of free senior high school which had increase the enrollment by over 90000 Ghanaian children, etc. have made me believe in your competency.

Just one quarter year of discharging your duty has proven beyond doubt that you are a selfless leader always ready in your last effort to make Ghana work again.

Your creation of the office of a special prosecutor by nominating a member from the opposition party to be entrusted with the prosecutorial power to prosecute corrupt officials in both current and past government means you really mean business in the fight against corruption.

Mr. President, I can assure you that, the passage of the RTI bill into law would be one of the powerful weapons with a double edged sword which can Pearce the heart of corruption in our beloved country.
Without the passage of the RTI bill, the office of the Special Prosecutor will be less meaningful as the process of acquiring information would be impaired or difficult.

This is a bill that has being laid before parliament for more than 17years during the leadership of four different Democratically elected president from both NPP and NDC under this fourth republic but yielded no fruit.

18 years of being laid before parliament if it was to be human as we are, by the time of parliamentary exposure, it would have being qualified to votes and decide on her own.

Mr. President, I don't want to believe that your predecessors refused to be committed for the passage of the RTI bill because certain hidden facts in the executive arm that were tantamount to corruption would have being revealed in the discharge of their duty as an executive heads in government.
In the case of the legislative, the likes of Hon. Joe Osei Owusu has proven beyond doubt that, the delay in the passage of the bill for almost 18 years was a deliberate attempt.

If a well-respected and experience member of parliament who was pushing for the passage of the bill into law when he was in opposition could say the passage of the bill is no longer a pressing issue as far as he is concern because there are other pressing bills before parliament that need to be passed into law, then it should signal you how hypocritical some parliamentarians are (both NPP and NDC).
This was the same man that criticized the John Mahama government that, if it is committed, the passage of the bill can be realized before the end of 2016 during an interview he granted to joy news on May 3rd, 2016.

He even urged Ghanaians to be insisting on the passage of the RTI bill because we have a right to information.

Let Hon. Joe Osei Owusu bring out the bills laid before parliament that are yet to be passed into law for Ghanaians to put them into priority and let's see where the RTI bill would be.

Mr. President, I will also encourage you to make the speaker of parliament Rt Hon. professor Aaron Mike Oqyaye's view concerning the RTI bill to have its way in the passage. As he said, "the RTI bill will be more meaningful if it goes beyond dealing with the public sector to include the private sector.
Yes I have 100% bought his idea because, many government officials work in connection with private sectors to create,loot state confers and share especially in the case of awarding contracts, causing financial loss to the state.

Also the passage of the RTI bill into law will make sure that, the work of the media being the fourth estate of realm in terms of the country's governance system which include investigative, analytical and popular journalism would be easily accessible.

No longer will the media and the public at large will be depending on conjecture, rumors, leaks and sources other than knowledgeable sources.
Mr. President if you want to ensure effective delivery of service to Ghanaians through the promotion of accountability, probity, transparency in the public, professional, economic, social and personal sphere, then you must be fully committed to the passage of the RTI bill into law as you promised in your manifesto during the 2016 electioneering campaign.

Mr. President, I hope to have no doubt that your commitment to ensure the passage of the RTI bill into law as was enshrined in your 2016 electioneering campaign manifesto would be realized as fulfilled promise before the end of this year 2018.

I hope my say will have its way.

I am a citizen not a spectator

Thank you

Ofori Gyan Mebro Albert