1. Is the RTI Bill still a priority for Parliament?
The Speaker of Parliament on May 17th 2016 singled out the RTI Bill as a Bill to be prioritized for passage into law in this session, WHAT HAS CHANGED? Given that the Bill has only be discussed twice in the last three weeks. Following the Speakers announcement on May 17th, the RTI Bill was taken on a daily basis in the weeks that ensued (May 18th – 20th and May 24th – 27th). However in the last three weeks (June 14th – 17th, June 21st – 24th and June 27th – 30th) the Bill has only been taken twice (on Thursday June 16th and on Thursday June 23rd).
2. Was the Speakers statement of prioritizing the Bill and the momentum with which the Bill was discussed following the Speakers statement, merely to draw the public’s attention away from the Bill and minimize the demand for the call for the passage of the Bill?
We recall that the Speaker noted on March 9th 2016 ‘I keep on receiving communications from various citizens of this country on this Bill’.
3. Is there a deliberate attempt to stall the consideration of the RTI Bill so that Parliament will have a reason to say that they tried but could not pass the RTI Bill due to the numerous amendments?
Given that we are in an election year, is Parliament trying to push the burden of passing the RTI Bill to the next Parliament? If the amendments are too many, does it not make sense to keep at it with all diligence so that it’s finished in due time. Of what value will the fine work that the Select Committee did on the Bill, as has always been talked about by the Majority Leader, be if the Bill is not passed by this Parliament? A new Parliament may not support the proposed amendments made by the Select Committee on the Bill.
4. We have noticed that Parliament has abandoned the RTI Bill and has started considering other Bills such as the Banks and Specialized Deposit –Taking Institutions Bill 2015 and the Ghana Geological Survey Authority Bill, 2015 and consideration is far advanced on those Bills, for example over 150 clauses of the Banks and Specialized Deposit –Taking Institutions Bill 2015 has been considered unlike the RTI Bill – the Bill that is supposed to have been prioritized – which is still on clause 29.
We have heard some MPs say that the RTI Bill is controversial which is why consideration has been slow but the question is – is the RTI Bill controversial for who?, for Ghanaians or for politicians?
5. Are our Parliamentarians really accountable to the people?
Given the amount of money that has been expended in ensuring that the RTI Bill is passed into law, for example, in 2010, Parliament with funding from the World Bank, went on a nationwide tour to get the views of Ghanaians on the RTI Bill, after this costly exercise carried out in six regions, Parliament could not even produce a report talk more of giving the people of Ghana the RTI Law. In 2012, again with funding from Star Ghana, Parliament convened two workshops in Koforidua to get the views of relevant stakeholders on the Bill and produced a good report which if adopted by Parliament would make the Bill very robust and effective when passed but yet in 2016, the Bill is still at the consideration stage and with the current pace at which the consideration process is going, the Bill may not be passed this year. The implication of this will be that next year the new Parliament will again be funded to carry out similar exercise all over again.
Source: RTI Coalition