Minority NPP's sudden opposition to RTI bill 'absurd, shameless, pathetic'
Two advocates of the Right to Information Bill have expressed shock at the Minority's sudden opposition to the passage of the bill after a 13-year wait.
Regional Coordinator of the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative, Mina Mensah, and Host of Joy FM/MultiTV's Newsfile, Samson Lardy Anyenini took turns to severely castigate the Minority in parliament after they threatened to walk out of parliament if the Majority goes ahead to pass the bill.
The Minority say the move by the Majority is a last-minute decision following the National Democratic Congress (NDC) government's defeat in the December 7 general elections.
Minority leader, Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu says the rapid way government is conducting its activities few days to its handing over contravenes the Presidential Transition Act 2012 (845).
The NPP MPs want some necessary consultation to be done before it cooperates with the Majority.
The incoming administration has been resisting other government decisions claiming they ought to be consulted by the exiting government.
In a predictable response, Human Rights and pro-democracy groups are incensed.
"I am surprised. extremely surprised. I don't know what the agenda of the NPP is," Mina Mensah is dismayed.
She recalled that the Minority has for years accused the Majority of foot-dragging and the government of lacking the political will to pass the bill into law.
She said if eventually, an exiting government wants to do what everyone agrees to be the needful, the Minority must not become a sudden stumbling block.
"I don't understand," she expressed her disbelief.
Samson Lardy Ayenini described the Minority's resistance as baffling. He said there has been enough consultations between the Majority and the Minority on the RTI bill.
The fresh demand for the government to consult the NPP Transition team, is therefore dragging the consultation excuse to "absurd, shameless" and "pathetic" levels.
Explaining the enormous effort invested in the bill, Samson Lardy recalled that he led the Multimedia Group Limited to petition the Speaker of Parliament over the delay in passing the law.
He recalled that both sides of the House raised issues they wanted to amend. Informed by these concerns, Parliament authored and submitted a 21-page report after working with pro-RTI groups to make changes on seven critical issues.
"All of those [changes] were taken care of...all of those were clearly accepted by the committee," Samson said.
He said the Speaker of Parliament, Mr. Edward Doe Adjaho vowed to "deal with the [bill] everyday" of Parliamentary sitting until the bill is finally passed.
"They did it for about four days or so and then they abandoned it," Samson expressed disappointment.
He said this new delay is a waste of the tax payer's money, because after the fifth and six parliaments under the Fourth Republic have failed to pass the bill and appears set to pass on the responsibility to the seventh parliament which takes off after January 7, 2017.
The Minority NPP will become the Majority when a new government is sworn in on January 7, 2017 following the NPP's victory at the December 7 polls.
He suspects the Minority are against the bill because it wants to get the credit as the party that passed the bill into law.
"It baffles me that the Minority is reducing this to who will get the credit...we have wasted the state resources. I mean it is baffling," he noted.
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