The Media Coalition on Right to Information (RTI) and the RTI Coalition have raised alarm over the conduct of Members of Parliament towards the passage of the Right to Information bill which has been pending for almost two decades.
The coalitions observed since parliament returned from recess, over 200 MPs have deliberately sabotaged the passage of the bill.
“In our view, this constitutes a deliberate strategy to once again frustrate the passage of the Bill into law”, the coalitions said in a statement Monday, November 12.
“It is on record that only between 30 and 50 MPs are in the chamber anytime the RTI Bill is up for consideration in the past two weeks”, they noted the attendance of the MPs has always been woeful anytime matters of the RTI come up.
The Media Coalition on RTI in particular had planned to storm the public gallery of Parliament to put pressure on legislators to ratify the bill, which was on their Order Paper.
But the police in charge of security there were given “strict order” to march them out because they were wearing branded T-shirts, a leading member of the group, Elvis Darko, told TV3 two weeks ago.
The coalitions have specifically fingered MP for Adansi Asokwa, Kobina Tahiru Hammond and MP for Ningo-Prampram who have publicly expressed their reservation about the passage of the bill, stating the two have taken “advantage of the situation to stop the House from considering the Bill by raising the issue of quorum.”
The coalitions also observed that sometimes parliament sits on Mondays, weekends and at times late into the night just to pass some laws and approve loans, it did not grant their request for the house to adopt extended sittings to consider the RTI.
They have therefore described as “unacceptable” the attitude of MPs absenting themselves anytime the RTI comes up for consideration.
The coalitions are not happy with parliament, especially with the Majority Leader, Osei Kyei-MensahBonsu, who had given assurances that the House will pass the RTI Bill into law before it rises in December, but as it stands it does not seem possible.
Meanwhile, the Speaker of Parliament Mike Oquaye has maintained that the RTI Bill would be passed before 2019.