RTI Coalition Intensifies Campaign In Ashanti

The Ashanti Regional Chapter of the Right To Information (RTI) Coalition has asked Ghanaians to fully rally behind it to pressurize Parliament to make the necessary amendments in order to pass the Right To Information bill into law and to ensure easy access to public information. At a public forum held in the Asokore Mampong Municipal Assembly, as part of programmes to brief communities on the progress of the bill, under the theme: “Promoting the Passage on an Effective RTI Law in Ghana”, the Coalition said the passage of the RTI into law would also encourage the citizenry to demand accountability from public officials without fear or reservation. The public forum, which was to afford participants from the informal sectors to brainstorm on how to lobby Parliament and other stakeholders to ensure speedy and acceptable RTI Bill into law, would also ensure that proper records are kept in all sectors of public organizations to help promote transparency in governance. Addressing the gathering, which was attended by a cross section of the public, including Civil Society Organizations and the informal sector, the Ashanti Regional Coordinator of the Coalition, Muftaw Mohammed urged the public to be very vigilant and ensure that they demand information from public officials to keep them on their toes. Muftaw Mohammed, however, said the RTI at its current stage, required several amendments, stressing that amongst areas that the Coalition was seeking changes were appeal processes, fee regime, time restrictions, access and exemptions, stressing that Parliament as a matter of urgency, must consider the Coalition’s option paper. An Islamic Scholar with Darul-Hadith Islamic Institute, Dr. Murtala Muhammad, said the RTI law would ensure transparency which was very vital in the promotion of good governance. He, however, urged the Coalition to press upon Parliament to make certain changes to portions of the current bill to conform to International best practice standards. Dr. Murtala further challenged government to implement the RTI when passed into law at the decentralised level of governance.