A member of Ghana’s Parliament on the ticket of the National Democratic Congress, (NDC), Sampson Ahi, has defended President John Mahama’s appeal to Parliamentarians to pass the Right to Information Bill before the dissolution of the House on midnight of Friday.
According to him, although the NDC currently has the majority in Parliament, they can’t force their way through by passing the Bill into law.
“I don’t think the nature of this Bill we want to pass it with one sided Parliament so we will need a consensus; we need to agree so that all of us can push a good Bill so that when it comes up it will can be implemented. I don’t think that because we are majority we want to bulldoze our way through and then pass it. Perhaps, the minority might even walk out, that is not what we want,” he said on Eyewitness News on Thursday.
[contextly_sidebar id=”V9E3A2UMPGgz6OKS2N6BuiQQPLoHoXrV”]President John Mahama during his last State of the Nation Address, appealed to Parliament to build consensus and approve the RTI Bill before the dissolution of the House.
“I must however say that the public and Civil Society Organizations are disappointed in our inability to pass the Right to Information bill and are still hopeful that before this Parliament is dissolved at midnight on the 6th of January a consensus can be found to pass this bill into law,” he expressed.
But the Minority Speaker of Parliament, Osei Kyei Mensah-Bonsu, said the House in its current state may not be able to pass the Bill.
“I’m still wondering whether in the dying embers of this extra time, this House may still find space and time to work on the Right to Information Bill. We all recognize that it is a very important bill but I do not think that it will do us any good…we all recognize the significance of this bill…nobody should have any emotions of about that [but] we will pursue what is right,” he said.
The Bill has been before parliament for over 10 years, but it is yet to be passed into law. Some civil society organisations have accused the President of not prioritizing the Bill hence its delay in Parliament.
Don’t blame Mahama; blame MPs for delay
But Sampson Ahi, who is also the Deputy Minister of Water Resources Works and Housing, and MP for the Bodi constituency in the Western Region, said Parliamentarians should be blamed for the delay in the passage of the Bill and not the President.
“Cabinet had worked on it, as soon as a Bill is made before Parliament, it becomes the property of Parliament. And so in the wisdom of Parliament they decide when and how that Bill is to be passed into law. Nobody can blame the executive. The President and executive have done their bit; it’s entirely in the domain of Parliament going forward to pass the Right to Information Bill into law. So there is nothing like the government trying to prevent Parliament from working on it,” he added.
By: Godwin A. Allotey/citifmonline.com/Ghana