Former President John Agyekum Kufuor has waded into the passage of the
According to him, Ghanaians must look at the national security and stability of the country before passing the bill which has suffered several setbacks in Parliament.
Delivering a lecture at the Annual Leadership Lecture organised by the University for Professional Studies, Accra (UPSA) on the theme: "Leadership in Ghana: Meeting Global Standards", Kufuor said though the passage of the RTI would greatly check corruption among others, it is important to consider the security implications.
"Successive governments have been grappling to pass this bill. The real challenge is not governments refusing to pass the bill, I don’t think so, but the text of the bill, the content of the bill has not been visited enough to offer guarantees to information that are of security and stability concerns to the integrity of the nation itself.
"We must look at the stability and security aspects of the bill. This bill must be passed to achieve better governance but it must not be at the cost of security and stability of the nation. It is obvious that governments not passing the RTI frustrate the fight against corruption and civil society groups are up in arms for the lack of passage and they are entitled to protest," he said.
The right to information bill is a fundamental human right guaranteed by the country’s 1992 Constitution and recognised as a right under the International Convention on Human Rights. The bill will give substance to Article 21 (1) (f) of the constitution which state "All persons shall have the right to information subject to such qualifications and laws as are necessary for a democratic society".
The bill was drafted in 1999 and reviewed in 2003, 2005 and 2007 but was not presented to Parliament.
NPP government promises
The conduct of the NPP government in relation to the Right to Information (RTI) Bill has been extremely disappointing and deeply embarrassing, the Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA) has stated.
In February 2017, Vice President Dr Mahamudu Bawumia assured Ghanaians that the government will ensure Parliament passes the bill in 100 days and the government has been in power over 600 days and the bill is still in limbo despite pressure being mounted on the government.
In March 2018, Nana Addo also served notice that he will give impetus to his fight against corruption by impressing on Parliament to pass the RTI bill before it goes on recess.
"Fellow Ghanaians, corruption, or, more specifically, the stealing of public funds, continues to hold back the development of our nation. Corruption is not a partisan matter and we must all act to protect the public purse. With the office of the Special Prosecutor now in place we can expect more prosecutions for corruption in the coming months and public officials, present and past, should be on notice that they would be held accountable for their stewardship of our public finances," he noted.