Chairman of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Business and Majority Leader, Hon. Osei Kyei Mensah-Bonsu, has indicated that the House will not respond to the pressure mounted by some group of media practitioners on the passage of the Right to Information Bill (RTI), 2018.
He stated that Parliament follow procedures in the discharge of its duties and that, pressure from Civil Society Organisations (CSO) and other individuals will not push Parliament to rush in passing the RTI Bill, 2018.
In an interview with newslinegh.com, the Leader of Government Business who doubles as Minister for Parliamentary Affairs, pointed out that it is important the House is allowed to do its work without any interference from CSOs.
“We know what we must do. We are not responding to public pressure. The people of this country have sent us here to do a good job for them. That is what we are going to do”. He responded.
The Majority Leader reiterated that the House is committed to do diligent work, and that the Bill will be treated as a matter of urgency by the close of the Third Sitting.
“MPs will do what is expected of them with all due diligence. The public should be assured that the RTI Bill will be dealt with by the close of this session”.
Pressure from Media Coalition on RTI Bill
On Tuesday, October 31, 2018, a cross section of media practitioners stormed parliament in an attempt to mount pressure on the House for the passage of the Right to Information Bill, 2018.
However, their demand to sit in the public gallery was not granted and were denied entry by the security of Parliament.
RTI Bill; the Journey so far
The RTI Bill, 2018, has been in legislation for two decades due to failure on the part of successive governments to ensure its passage, despite several assurances.
The Bill was first drafted 22 years ago under the auspices of the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) with purpose of transparency and accountability in all government sectors.
The then draft Executive Bill was subsequently reviewed in 2003, 2005 and 2007 but was never laid in Parliament until February 5, 2010.
Subsequently, the Bill was withdrawn from Parliament to review and amend some controversial clauses.
On June 25, 2015, the then Minister for Justice and Attorney-General, Mrs. Marietta Brew Oppong moved for the Second Reading of the Bill in Parliament.
The Bill has undergone several amendments and is currently under the Consideration Stage at Parliament after going through First and Second Reading.