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22.02.2008 General News

Right to Information Coalition disappointed

By Daily Graphic
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The Right to Information Coalition has expressed its disappointment in the exclusion of the Right to Information bill from the President's State of the Nation address.

"This omission once again registers as another failed promise by President Kufuor. One would expect that President Kufuor, in his professed commitment to democratic, transparent and accountable governance, would pass the RTI law to fulfil these aspirations but sadly, this has not been the case," it said.

A statement issued by the coalition yesterday urged the government to pass the RTI law as a measure in combating corruption as the delay in its passage was detrimental to the nation's democratic process and undermined the citizens' capacity to hold politicians and public officials to account.

"Indeed, prior statements by President Kufuor, the Attorney-General and his Deputy, concerning fears of the lack of appropriate infrastructure for enforcing the RTI law can no longer justify the delay," the statement said.

The coalition asserted that there were already structures in place to facilitate the enforcement of the law.

It said the President must explain to Ghanaians why, for more than six years of his leadership, the RTI law was still in a draft form and why he failed to provide any policy direction in his last State of the Nation Address, on the passage of the RTI law.

The coalition expressed the hope that as the country assessed President Kufuor's achievements, the passage of the RTI bill into law during his term of office would be a priority issue.

The statement noted that Article 21 (1) (f) of the 1992 Constitution provided for the Right to Information as a fundamental human right guaranteed to all persons.

It said that had been further reinforced by the African Union Declaration of Principles on Freedom of Expression in Africa, the Africa Union Convention against Corruption, the Africa Peer Review
Mechanism Report on Ghana and the Joint Declaration of Commitment by African Freedom of Information Advocates.

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