President John Dramani Mahama should show enough commitment at ensuring the passage of the Right To Information (RTI) bill after returning from Paris where he is attending an event organised by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) on the occasion of the International Day for Universal Access to Information, Tina Asante-Apeatu, Executive Director, Good Governance Africa (GGA-West Africa), has said.
President Mahama, who is the co-chair of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) Advocacy Group of the United Nations, will take his audience through the importance of information and media to sustainable development, with a focus on Goal 16 of the 2030 Agenda. Goal 16 is dedicated to the promotion of peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, the provision of access to justice for all, and building effective, accountable institutions at all levels.
Monday’s talk by President Mahama is being facilitated by UNESCO’s International Programme for the Development of Communication (IPDC) and will be preceded by a number of panel discussions on various other goals of the 2030 Agenda.
Speaking in an interview on Monday in connection with the President’s participation vis-à-vis the RTI bill in parliament, Ms Asante-Apeatu said: “We can only hope that the president finds it important considering the fact that every sovereignty is said to lie in the hands of the people and for that matter, the government should be acting on behalf of the people. …If there is some information in the abode of the government and the people have the need and try to ask, it should be easy for the people to access the information.”
She added: “…It should be an urgent call on him to see to the passage of the RTI bill and then to see to its implementation. We are just hoping that this is what he will do when he comes back.
“Our president has a communications background and is also seen as a media-friendly person, so, in order not to leave the media speculating, I think it is very important for the president to see to the passage of this bill so that the media will have access to the actual information. If you leave that vacuum, they (media) will fill it with their own information. We are fortunate to have a president with a very convenient and appropriate background as a communicator and also a media-friendly person.
“As far as the constitution of Ghana through Article 21 is concerned, and for good governance practices to be ensured, the bill must be passed. It is long overdue. This would clear the various doubts in the minds of Ghanaians as to what goes into some government-awarded contracts.”