Ghanaian citizens will soon be able to access public information. Last Tuesday (May 21) Ghana’s president Nana Akufo-Addo signed the law the Right To Information (RTI) Act.
“The purposes of the act as set out in its preamble is to provide for the implementation of the constitutional right to information held by any public institution and to foster a culture of transparency and accountability in public affairs,” the president stressed. He added that if properly applied the Act could prove a critical tool in the fight against corruption in public life.
The implementation of this act was due to start in the next fiscal year. South Africa, Angola, Zimbabwe, Uganda, Nigeria, Ethiopia, Rwanda, Liberia, Malawi, and Guinea have similar laws in place.
The right to information is enshrined in Ghana’s 1992 Constitution but, for many years, the country has struggled to pass the RTI law. As far back as 1999, Ghana’s Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) drafted an RTI Bill for Ghana.
Since then, It had been the subject of a series of protests especially from the media and civil society groups. They accused lawmakers of delaying the passage of the law because of their own interests.
In force since 2012 in Brazil, the Law on Access to Information (LAI) covers the three powers (Judiciary, Legislative and Executive) and all levels of government (municipal, state, district and federal). The law establishes that all information produced or guarded by the public authority must be accessible to citizens, except those under legal secrecy.