By Albert Futukpor
Tamale, Aug 26, GNA – Alhaji Alhassan Issahaku, the Chief Director, Northern Regional Coordinating Council, has admonished state institutions to be proactive in giving out information.
“We, those who hold public office, must realise that we hold it in trust for the people, and they have every right to demand any form of information from us. It is not for us to see them as being mischievous when they request for it,” he said.
Alhaji Issahaku said duty bearers should not see citizens as being mischievous when they requested for information.
“Let us also bear in mind that people will seek information when there is no information. If decisions had been broadly communicated and people are adequately informed, they wouldn’t have to be seeking information from us,” he said.
He was speaking at a public forum on the Right to Information (RTI) Law, held in Tamale by the Ghana Developing Communities Association (GDCA), a civil society organisation, in collaboration with the RTI Commission.
The forum was to engage heads of public and private institutions, civil society groups, the media, and student bodies on what was expected of them in the implementation of the RTI Law.
It formed part of the “Expanding civic space and right to information in Ghana in a COVID-19 context” project being implemented by the GDCA and STAR Ghana Foundation, with support from the Ghana Friends and CISU in Denmark.
Alhaji Issahaku bemoaned the attitude of those seeking to hide information and urged state institutions to be prepared to put out information in a manner that would project their activities.
Mr Yaw Sarpong, the Executive Secretary, RTI Commission, in his presentation on the RTI Act, urged state institutions to establish information units at all levels to respond to citizens’ requests for information.
“You cannot say that you have an information unit at the headquarters and so you will not have it at the regional and district levels,” he said.
He said putting out information would enable public institutions to simply refer people to it when they requested such information, as it was in the spirit of proactive disclosure.
Miss Eunice Agbenyadzi, Programmes Manager at STAR Ghana Foundation, was hopeful that after the forum, “We will begin to see proactive disclosure of information and rapid response to citizens requests for information.
Alhaji Osman Abdel-Rahman, the Executive Director of GDCA, said the level of interest generated by the forum in the form of clarifications sought by even many regional directors showed that the objectives for organising it had been fulfilled.
He expressed the hope that it would help to expand the country’s civic space to further deepening of democracy.