Instruction to Ace: ‘Bury the RTI Bill’

By Efo Koshi
senyo_horsi

Looooong Lege, you be Ogboo. Charle I land ooo, ma landi.

From the land of the Nambia creator (aka Donald Trump) all through to the ‘in-it’ of the Queen, I borger come.

Massa gyae, ayigbe slangs na ba rough!
Naabu C, I read your letter on my way out and it was clear you were committed to destroying any joy in my trip. It was like that moment when you use your last nokofio to buy some chibom and just when you were about to impale your teeth into its yummy flesh, village flies make it their resting place. How so annoying? My anger could not make me read twice. I decided to assume you never wrote it but this Ghana konkonsa people keep leaking our letters and we meet them everywhere we go.

I must admit I find no brightness in the day to write you this letter. LLNC, your letter quaked me. My worst fears now seem plausible. As a matter of fact, we have been used to Munchendiology created around a seemingly legitimate act. We bloat things like Pentecostal waste bins, road contracts etc. As for this one di33, chai I could not stand it. How could a Ghanaian sworn under oath to protect the interest of State, so fraudulently create a non-existing solution to a legitimate problem and proceed to award contracts to practically one MUNCHENDIOLOGIST? Ei bei!
I agree true service is practically dead but wonder when conscience died so quickly in Ghana? The persons involved do church and mosque most Sundays and Fridays but all that show of faith means nothing to their morals and heart. What will be most significant is what Olu does about it. Will it be another old wives tale or sure proof that if you go to bed with an itchy behind, you will wake up with smelly fingers. They better wake up with their smelly fingers. With all I see these days, I wonder if they will.

I will tell you why.
I have just discovered that there is a supergroup of Munchendiologists. There are the Umbrella Covered, Elephant Riding Munchendiologists. You may simply call them the ULCER-Munchendiologists. Their Munchendiological acts cross carpets with finesse. They have become untouchables.

One thing that continues to baffle me is how and why information mainly leaks when there is a change in Government? If there is one thing Munchendiology fears, it is openness which we gain from unrestricted access to information. It is for this reason that the right to information bill ought to be passed to provide a framework for operationalising the right of we-the-people to information as guaranteed in the Constitution.

It is unbelievable that politicians have paid lip service to the bill for seventeen years, yes one-seven (17yrs). Our right to information as I recall MB and you once told me, is firmly guaranteed in the Constitution under the general fundamental freedoms of all, precisely Article 21. The Right to Information Bill, as comprehensively revised, is expected to provide an operable framework and a comparatively affordable environment for we-the-people to exercise our rights as enshrined in the Constitution. I must admit it may not be a perfect law but it is a start. Eiii! I better be careful, knowing this your too-known life, if I continue to veer into your territory, I will soon turn into prey for your dinner. You take no prisoners. Long Lege, you that.

Reviewing the timeline below, one thing strikes me. Successive governments seem to pretend to be committed to the passage of the Bill. As I see it, politics and the rhetoric of the RTI commitment is like a mystical door; the opposition clamours for its opening while those in power use ‘Russian Tactics’ to keep it closed. Amazingly, when the opposition gets in the door, they do not hesitate to learn to shut the door too. Ei bei! Ibi disease or Tukpe?
It is unthinkable how and why public officials flaunt what they see as their discretion not to share information. You know their favourite lines right: it is confidential, I am under oath, it is classified or simply I won’t/can’t give it to you.

The most amazing story I heard last week was the police telling a complainant who wanted a copy of her own statement that it was confidential!
My own statement has become confidential against me. Ei! Asem wor OluKrom! Public officials ought to know that they are just like housemaids to whom we have entrusted our children while we work our butts to raise funds to pay them. Can you imagine returning home and asking them for your daughter’s scorecard only for them to tell you it is confidential? How dare them?

We-the-people are owners of the state and must assert our place in the State. The Constitution I believe is clear on this; ‘The Sovereignty of Ghana resides in the people of Ghana in whose name and for whose welfare the powers of government are to be exercised … ‘. Though I rant with so much vim at public officials and politicians, I must admit they are easily a reflection of who the average Ghanaian is; we do not like accountability but are quick to demand one.
The officials and politicians emerge from us-the- people.
It is, therefore, necessary that while we scream for a change we so desire, we must start to live the change ourselves.
The fake game played by successive Governments and Parliaments evidences the fact that the Elected have become disconnected from the Electorates. They seem to be playing us for the protection of their extreme NOCTURNAL Deeds. Seems like I smell the protection of MUNCHENDIOLOGY.
I am, however, hopeful that Olu will deliver. He has been a lead advocate for human rights, freedom and justice. He has no reason to fail us on the passage of this bill. It will be a big scandal if he fails. I wish him Godspeed.
Wait a minute!

The success of this bill hinges on the effective maintenance and management of records. ‘Abi’ to exercise the right to information, the information must first be available. What if public officials and politicians tell you it is missing, they know nothing about it or they cannot find the file or docket?Chai! If we have no criminal provisions to ensure that officials honour their obligations to keep the state’s information safe and available, we just may have wasted time, no? In fact, it will be a Sad Distin!

Yours truly,
Efo Koshi
PS: I hear they are looking for me. Just tell them their ‘horse is running fast’ (Ponkor pe ntem) or simply say I am the noisy petrol guy. Akpe!