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December 14, 2019
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MFWA Public Forum Calls For Transparency In RTI Implementation

Participants at public forum on implementation of of the Right to Information Act, Act 989(2018) has called for transparency in its implementation to make the law effective to serve the purpose.

Transparency of the RTI implementation, according to participants would make Ghanaians understand the law and willingly contribute to its usage.

Parliament of Ghana in March 2019, unanimously passed the averaged RTI Bill to law, amidst demands for certain crucial amendment raised by the Coalition of RTI.

The RTI which would be implemented in January 2020, sought to provide a constitutional right to information held by the public and some private institutions, subject to exemptions that are necessary and consistent with the protection of public interest in a democratic society.

It further sought to foster a culture of transparency and accountability in public affairs and to provide for related matters.

It implementation remained another challenged as government pushed it to 2020, for a full action.

A Commission is expected to be established to oversee the RTI Law utilization to archive the purpose.
However, panelists at the Wednesday September 25, public forum believed the law would be effective if only transparency is unlocked and citizens have clear mind of their rights and responsibilities.
Manesseh Azure Awuni, an investigative Freelance Journalist believed existence laws with the RTI should not be play with.
He said, the RTI law would not be a tool for Journalists but security services and other professional bodies as well and expressed the hope government would provide enough funds for its implementation.

A private legal practitioner, Mr.Akoto Ampaw, said the would be Commission is an institution and must be established with people with capable hands to ensure transparency.

Lawyer Akoto Ampaw

He cautioned President Akufo-Addo not to treat the appointment of members of the Right to Information (RTI) commission as “job for the boys”.
In his view, members to the Commission must be appointed based on merit and not political interest as such have the tendency of compromising the implementation of the law.

He added that the proper consideration of appointees of the RTI commission is important since their performance will determine if the institution will have a proper foundation or not.

Speaking on the theme: “Implementation of Right to Information Bill” Akoto Ampaw identified some challenges in the RTI law and called for clear and collective voice from Ghanaians to ensure government do not derail it function.

He said government must be ready to govern with transparency and the appointment of member of the RTI commission shouldn’t be based on political merits.

“…membership of that commission is key especially because, the first members of the commission will be those who would ensure whether the institution has a proper foundation or not. If we have people appointed by the president who are there simply to do bidding of the president then we going to have a huge problem.”

“I want to appeal to the president of the country that appointment of first members of the commission should not be based on jobs for the boys or girls. It should be based on a commitment to the long-term interest of this country in building a democratic society” he added.
Other speakers were Mina Mensah of Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative, Sammy Obeng of Parliamentary Network Africa and Godwin Ayekple, of National Records Centre.


Source: therepublicnewsonline.com/Felix Nyaaba

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