Many were those who hailed President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo Addo for making a bold statement on the Independence Day by indicating his preparedness to ensure that Right to Information(RTI) bill which has been within and without Parliament for more than a decade will be passed.
In his own words, he said to Ghanaians that “There is, however, one piece of the anti-corruption framework that is yet to be put in place; The Right to Information Act. It would increase transparency and add another critical weapon to the armoury in the fight against corruption.
“After many years of hesitation, we intend to bring a Bill again to Parliament and work to get it passed into law before Parliament rises. The protection of the public purse is a social common good, and it depends on all of us. It is in all our interest that corruption does not thrive, and we police each other’s behaviour.”
For us at Public Agenda, the President’s statement was encouraging, considering the failure of successive governments to pass bill after several promises.
The bill when passed will give power to the constitutional provision that gives every Ghanaian the right to information. It will form the basis for every citizen to go to any government agency to demand information that should be public but may have been unpublished.
Without mincing words Public Agenda can say that Ghanaians need the RTI bill to demand accountability from duty bearers. And we think the Akufo-Addo government must get it passed without any feet-dragging, if it truly wants to fight the evil corruption in our system.
It must be noted that we do not doubt the president’s ability to make do with his promises in the sense that, he promised to implement the Free SHS policy and he delivered. He promised to establish the Office of the Special Prosecutor as well as many other initiatives and he delivered.
When the RT bill is passed it won’t be government alone as usual that would have access to information. Ghanaian citizens will also have knowledge about public officers’ assets.
The RT Bill will also seek to empower the citizens, promote transparency and accountability in the working of government and will help contain corruption and make our democracy work for the people in real sense.
Public Agenda will be monitoring to see when the President will deliver on this particular promise .