Historically, the quest for Right To Information (RTI) Bill was first drafted in 1999 during the tenure of Flt Lt Jerry John Rawlings and reviewed in 2003, under the administration of John Agyekum Kufuor.
But it was not until March 26, 2019, when Parliament passed the Bill awaiting presidential assent, almost 20 years when it was first drafted.
The RTI Bill, contains far reaching provisions that are capable of transforming the culture of secrecy in governance which, until now, had existed in our public institutions.
The cardinal purpose for which the RTI Bill was drafted and subsequently passed is to enable the public access certain government information.
Governments are typically bound by a duty to publish and promote openness. To this effect, over 100 countries around the world have implemented some form of freedom of information legislation.
Sweden’s Freedom of the Press Act of 1766 is the oldest in the world, while the United States has a “right-to-know” legal process or sunshine laws also variously referred to as open records.
Unfortunately for Ghana, despite the long years of waiting for Parliament to finally pass the Bill into law, we are still awaiting the signature of president Akufo-Addo, nine months after the passage.
This, in the considered opinion of this newspaper, still shows that, our public officers are not in support of the RTI Act, and will actively take steps to frustrate every effort to implement the Act, contrary to the principles of democracy in Ghana, since democracy is all about open and transparent participatory government.
It is in view of this that, we were disappointed that, journalists who met the president last week Friday, at the Meet The Press Series, failed to ask president Akufo-Addo, when he will assent the Bill, which has been sitting on his desk for almost nine months.