The Centre for Democratic Development, CDD-Ghana, has appealed to Parliament to summon the Attorney General and Minister of Justice as well as the Information Minister over the delay in the passage of the Right to Information Bill.
According to a senior research fellow at CDD-Ghana, Ambassador Francis Tsegah, Parliament must demand answers from Gloria Akuffo and Mustapha Abdul Hamid on reasons for the delay in the passage of the bill.
The bill, arguably one of the oldest before the legislature, has spanned several Parliaments’ and Presidencies.
This has led to criticism from a section the public who believe the bill has been put on the back burner because it gives the general citizenry unfettered access to information.
“It’s our expectation that Parliament as an institution will summon the Attorney General, the Information Minister to explain why the RTI bill is still with the executive” Ambassador Tsegah stressed.
Ambassador Tsegah was speaking at the 4th edition of the crystal ball series organized by PNAfrica and the CDD-Ghana, under the theme “Opening up Parliament for Effective Governance”.
The forum which aimed at parliamentary openness focused on the first meeting of the Second Session of the Seventh Parliament.
“We will like to commend the House for working hard to pass some major laws such as the Office of the Special Prosecutor law and among others at the third meeting of the First Session of Parliament,” Ambassador Tsegah stated.
Commenting on the attitudes of some Ministers of State towards parliamentary businesses, Ambassador Tsegah condemned ministers who refuse to attend invitations by Parliament to answer questions and appealed to Speaker of Parliament to enforce the relevant punitive measures.
“We urge Parliament to continue to work hard to address issues of national importance on a nonpartisan approach,” he advised.
Meanwhile, a senior programs officer of the CDD-Ghana, Mrs Regina Tetteh charged leadership of Parliament to take corruption allegations against MPs serious because the public still have the perception that MPs are corrupt.
“We have done a lot of surveys [Afrobarometer]; citizens have this perception that Parliament is corrupt and that is dangerous for our democracy, we will urge and plead with the leadership of Parliament to take corruption allegations very seriously to let citizens have a positive attitude towards the house” she stressed.
“We have done very well to pass the Office of Special Prosecutor bill into law, without the RTI law in Ghana we’re not going to succeed,” Regina Tetteh added.
Addressing the gathering, the Executive Director for PNAfrica, Sammy Obeng, also urged Parliament to do regular public updates on its website.
MP for Kumbungu, Ras Mubarak, who represented the Minority Leader called on civil society organizations to educate the electorate against excessive demands from MPs for their funerals, weddings, parties etc.
“The monies that come to us as salary end up going back to the people to support social calls but the same public make a hue and cry over when we ask for an increase in salary,” Ras Mubarak stressed.
MP for Ledzokuku Constituency, Dr Bernard Okoe Boye, who represented the Majority Leader also called for a concerted effort towards eliminating corruption from the country.
He believes passage of the Special Prosecutor law will eliminate corruption.