Member of Parliament for Adansi Asokwa, K.T. Hammond says the passage of the Right to Information Bill into law will cause government to lose exclusivity to certain vital information.
He said, although this will be useful for journalists and other people seeking information, it may not necessarily augur well for governance in the country.
“You need peace of mind to run a government. You need to concentrate and if you have a bill and before the ink dries on it, somebody is asking you to ‘bring this document’…to the extent that we are talking about communication between the president, the vice president and cabinet, potentially, there will be no secret in government.”
Parliament has been under renewed pressure since it reconvened this month to pass the RTI Bill.
A group calling itself Media Coalition on RTI says it is determined to embark on a series of actions (demonstrations included) to compel Parliament to pass the Bill into law.
The group’s planned protest in Parliament on Wednesday was foiled after they were denied entry into the House prompting concerns that the legislators are unwilling to pass the Bill into law.
The Media Coalition is not alone. Other stakeholders have accused successive governments of paying lip service to the passage of the Bill.
Although the Speaker of Parliament, Prof. Mike Oquaye, is confident that the Bill will be passed before the final session of the House this year, the MPs seem to be dragging their feet.
In a response to a question over whether he would not prefer a free society where information is readily available rather than one where information is kept away from the public, Mr. Hammond said: “it is not everything that the public is interested in which is in the interest of the public.”
He said a “free society and all that is a journalist’s jargon” and until they sit on the seat of an administrator, they will not know what it feels like to be pestered for information.”
Mr. Hammond added that passing the RTI into law will be a gold mine for only journalists and not the generality of the population, leaving government unable to operate effectively.
“Gold nuggets are in there for journalists. One single slip, ministers cannot operate, government cannot proceed effectively, governance cannot take place meaningfully with this sort of albatross hanging over our heads.”