Right to Information Bill I can't force parliament to pass RTI Bill - Mahama

The Right to Information Coalition has often expressed disappointment in government for failing to ensure the passage of the Bill.

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“I can’t go and force parliament to pass the Right to Information Bill”, President John Mahama has said.

Parliament began the consideration of the Bill which has been before the House since 2013.

The general public will have legal access to information such as government documents, data, reports, and so on, once the bill is passed.

READ ALSO: RTI Bill not Mahama's priority - Minority

The Right to Information Coalition has often expressed disappointment in government for failing to ensure the passage of the Bill.

But taking his turn at the GBC’s organized Presidential Encounter, the president said: “Once you present the Bill to parliament, it becomes the property of parliament. I’m in the Executive...they [ parliament] have formed a Committee; they said they need more stakeholder consultation.

“We have separation of powers, parliament is autonomous. I can’t go and force them to pass the it but you’ve heard them me advocate it and say that they should pass the Bill...Maybe they [parliament] will be back in December. So probably we will form a joint consultative team and go to parliament and ask what the problem with the Bill is.”

The president, however, emphasised that he has nothing against the Bill.

“I can live with that Bill. My government has nothing to hide and I believe that, that transparency can help us. If somebody wants information give it to them,” he added.

He further asked the Ghana Journalists Association to request an audience with the Speaker of Parliament to get clarity on the cause of the delay.

The Attorney General, Marietta Brew Appiah-Oppong, last month withdrew the earlier Right To Information (RTI) and replaced it with a new one.

This was after several anomalies were identified with the bill.

A new one has been laid but the process would have to restart before the House can consider the content of the Bill.

George Loh, the Vice Chairperson on Parliament's Constitutional, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Committee, said he is hopeful that the new bill, with less amendments will get parliament’s attention.

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