Nana Oye Lithur

The Right to Information Coalition says it cannot be true that the coalition has reneged on its responsibility of assisting Parliament to swiftly pass the Right to Information bill into law.

The Majority Leader, Cletus Avoka last week blamed the Coalition for the delay in the passage of the bill, accusing members of failing to provide proposals for the review of relevant clauses in the bill on time.

But members of the Coalition say Mr Avoka’s comments can only be regrettable.

Convener of the Coalition, Nana Oye Lithur at a press conference in Accra on Tuesday dismissed the claims by the Majority Leader, saying the coalition has at all times provided the needed technical support for Parliament and cabinet for the speedy passage of the bill into law.

“The coalition finds it regrettable that the Majority Leader is blaming this coalition for Parliament’s delay in passing the bill.

“There is ample evidence to show that the coalition has consistently provided technical and other support to Parliament and all relevant stakeholders throughout the RTI skills legislative process,” she said.

A member of the Coalition, Akoto Ampaw in highlighting details of the proposals before Parliament said the coalition is suggesting the creation of an Independent Information Coalition who would regulate the implementation of the Right to Information law.

He said the commission must have firm and resolute personalities who cannot be pushed around by any government.

He also outlined the circumstances under which a public institution may refuse to make available a particular information on the request of an individual.

“All we want is to ensure that all exemptions are based on a principle. It is not that we are against exemptions. There are certain information the disclosure of which will cause damage to the public interest, public health, national security and so on.

“But it doesn’t mean that it is every information the BNI has the disclosure of which will cause damage to National Security.

“We need an Independent Information Commission and have suggested a mechanism which will ensure that those who are appointed to that office are not people who will be in the pocket of the president of the day,” he said.

Source: Myjoyonline

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