For the second time in two years, Members of Parliament (MPs) in Ghana on Wednesday, July 11, 2018 began the consideration of the Right to Information (RTI) Bill.
The Bill reached the same consideration stage in the House in March, 2016, but could not be passed as the Minority at the time felt the content still needed more fine-tuning.
It is not clear whether the House will, this time around, be able to pass the Bill into law before the House goes on recess on July 26, 2018, considering the fact that Members are expected to amend 91 clauses to the bill before its passage.
In 2016, the then Majority Leader, Alban Sumana Kingsford Bagbin, gave assurance that the House was committed to working on the legislation, stressing that the Bill had already gone through a lot of metamorphosis.
He disclosed that the African Union had passed a resolution that all legislatures of member-states had to pass RTI legislations after which the various states had to fine-tune the bill to suit their specific needs.
Several months after it was withdrawn, following the change in political power, the bill was re-laid in Parliament early 2018 by a Deputy Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Joseph Dindiok.
It has since gone through the first and second readings, while the Joint Committee on Constitutional, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs and Communications, tasked by the Speaker to consider the bill, has also presented its report.
The object of the bill is to operationalise the constitutional right to information. It also seeks to foster a culture of transparency and accountability in public affairs and other related matters.
The RTI Bill was first drafted in 1999, reviewed in 2003, 2005 and 2007 but was only presented to Parliament in 2010. It was brought back to the House but could not be passed till the expiration of that Parliament on January 6, 2017.
MFWA urges the House to fulfil its promise to Ghanaians and ensure that the Bill is passed into law before going on recess on July 26, 2018.