The Ghana Bar Association (GBA) has lauded efforts by the presidency to ensure that the Right to Information Bill is finally passed.
The Vice President, Mahamudu Bawumia, on Monday announced that a revised Bill has been submitted to the cabinet for further deliberation.
Speaking to Citi News the Vice President of the Ghana Bar association Anthony Gordon Jnr said the passage of the Bill has been long overdue.
“To get it passed is the right direction, It has been too longing on the books and it has the effect of bringing sunshine onto so many issues which otherwise person like the media will find difficult in unearthing the truth,” he said.
He noted that the agitation of the people is in the right direction because the passing of the Bill would actually assist the governance of the country.
The right to information is a fundamental human right guaranteed by the country’s 1992 Constitution and recognized as a right under International Conventions on Human rights.
The bill as it has been drafted is to give 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”.
The back and forth
The Right to Information Bill was first drafted in 1999 under the former president, Jerry John Rawlings. Various advocacy groups emerged to press for the immediate passing of the bill into law in 2002. The draft bill was reviewed in 2003, 2005 and 2007.
The National Democratic Congress (NDC) in its 2008 and 2012 election manifestos promised to ensure the bill is passed. In 2010, the bill was presented to Parliament for consideration.
In 2011, the government signed unto the Open Government Partnership (OGP) Initiative with a commitment to pass by the bill. In November 2013, the bill was formally laid before parliament.
Former Attorney General, Deputy Dominic Ayine in 2015, moved the bill for second reading in Parliament. In October 2016, the bill was withdrawn and a replaced with a new one which was immediately laid.
Following the dissolution of the Sixth Parliament of the Fourth Republic and the swearing-in of new Parliament in January 2017, the bill is no longer in parliament.
By: Farida Yusif/citifmonline.com/Ghana