Former Central Regional Chairman of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) and a now Social Commentator, Bernard Allotey Jacobs, has advised officials in general and Ministers and government appointees, in particular, to be more prudent and wary, especially now that the Right To Information (RTI) bill has been passed into law.
According to him, state officials with the penchant of escorting their girlfriends hotels must desist from the practice; that is if government is the one footing the bill since every action will be scrutinized under the RTI.
“If somebody takes his girlfriend to a hotel; and perhaps the bill is being footed by government, and the person is a minister, you can imagine what will happen…I know what I am talking about. Those living secret lives should be careful,” he added.
Allotey Jacobs was reacting to the passage of the RTI bill by Parliament on Tuesday, March 26 during a panel discussion on Wednesday’s edition of Peace FM morning show, ‘Kokrokoo ‘.
The Bill that gives substance to Article 21 (1) (f) of the Constitution which states that “ All persons shall have the right to information subject to such qualifications and laws as are necessary for a democratic society” was passed following the completion of its consideration stage after several policy changes, amendments and months of rigorous debates on the Floor of the House.
The RTI is a fundamental human right guaranteed by the country’s 1992 Constitution and recognized as a right under International Conventions on Human rights.
It was first drafted in 1999 under former President, Jerry John Rawlings.
Various advocacy groups emerged to press for the immediate passing of the bill into law in 2002 and reviewed in 2003, 2005 and 2007.
The National Democratic Congress (NDC) in its 2008 and 2012 election manifestos promised to ensure the Bill was passed. In 2010, it was presented to Parliament for consideration.
Following the dissolution of the Sixth Parliament of the Fourth Republic and the swearing-in of new Parliament in January 2017, the Bill had to be re-laid by the new government.
That was done and the Bill has been receiving attention by the house but not without pressure from CSOs to expedite action on it.