House to pass RTI Bill by December - Majority Leader

BY: Musah Yahaya Jafaru
Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu — Majority Leader
Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu — Majority Leader

The Majority Leader, Mr Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, has given an assurance that the House will pass the Right to Information (RTI) Bill into law before it rises in December, 2018.

The Bill has passed through the first and second readings and is at the consideration stage.

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There are 72 amendments proposed to be considered by the House.
The consideration stage was slated to be taken yesterday, the first sitting of the Third Meeting, but it could not come off.

Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu told the House that members of the Constitutional, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs, who were supposed to lead the consideration of the RTI Bill, were at a committee's meeting considering the Company's Bill.

He gave an assurance that Members of Parliament (MPs) would continue with the consideration of the Bill today as they were committed to seeing the RTI Bill passed by the end of the Third Meeting.

Media Coalition


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Earlier in the day, members of the Media Coalition on the RTI, wearing branded RTI Bill T-shirts, who tried to enter Parliament, were denied entry by the police.

The T-shirts had the inscription: " Pass the RTI Bill Now".

The police explained that the members were supposed to have sought permission from Parliament to come in as a group.

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A member of the coalition, Mr Gilbert Boyefio, told the Daily Graphic that the members were at the Parliament House to observe the consideration of the Bill.

He said members of the coalition were disappointed at the turn of events, and indicated that the coalition had since written the request letter to Parliament.

The acting Director of Public Affairs, Ms Kate Addo, explained that the members were denied entry as a group but not as individuals.

She said Parliament was processing the request letter from the coalition to pave way for members of the coalition to be admitted as a group.

Background

The RTI Bill is to provide for the operationalisation of the constitutional right to information held by public and some private institutions, subject to exemptions that are necessary and consistent with the protection of public interest in a democratic society.

It also seeks to foster a culture of transparency and accountability in public affairs and to provide for related matters.

The RTI Bill was first drafted in 1999, reviewed in 2003, 2005 and 2007 but was only presented to Parliament in 2010. It was brought back to the Sixth Parliament but could not be passed till the expiration of that Parliament on January 6, 2016.

After months of waiting, the Bill was laid in Parliament early this year (2018) by the Deputy Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Mr Joseph Dindiok.