Mahama: I'll Pass FOI Law In 100 Days
Mahama: I'll Pass FOI Law In 100 Days Website
The flag bearer of the People's National Convention (PNC), Dr Edward N. Mahama, has assured Ghanaians that if voted into power, his government will pass the Freedom of Information Bill into law within the first 100 days. He said the law was essential to guarantee a free and responsible media to have access to information without any hindrance. He said most progressive advanced countries had freedom of information laws because public officials were holding the interest of the public in trust. Giving a preview of his party's 2008 manifesto which will be launched in April, Dr Mahama told the Daily Graphic, "There is no need to hold something in the public interest and at the same time hide it from the public." He further said the Whistleblowers Act would also be embedded in the law to give advantage to the information seeker and protect the information giver. "It is my and the party's firm belief that out of ignorance the people perish," he stated, and pointed out that a well informed media could help society to make informed choices. "Now that the law on causing financial loss to the state is grabbing politicians, they are planning to repeal it, I think people occupying public positions want to protect themselves," he stated, and emphasised that "the law must not be repealed under any circumstance". He said the PNC was going into the presidency on the principle that political leaders must lead simple lives so that others would, emulate them. Giving a further insight into the PNC's manifesto, Dr Mahama said it placed premium on health, education and energy, saying that in providing energy for the people, the party would focus on food and agriculture and explore varied sources of power, including solar, for industries. The PNC manifesto, entitled: "The Continuing Agenda", according to Dr Mahama, would accomplish all the unfinished political agenda of the Convention People's Party (CPP) and the Peo ple's National Party (PNP) governments of Dr Kwame Nkrurilah and Dr Hilla Limann, respectively. He said the PNC had examined global trends and tailored its current manifesto to meet the exigencies of the moment. For instance, he stated, that "a PNC government will do what we are doing for cocoa farmers by helping to spray their farms, constructing roads to farming centres and guaranteeing prices for their produce for shea nut farmers. He said his government would expand the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) to make it the most important national health programme carried out by Ghana since independence and described the scheme as the most important healthcare financing reform the country had carried out and expressed the hope that healthcare providers would be educated on how the system should work and how to protect it. On housing, Dr Mahama indicated that the PNC believed in the idea of low cost housing and so the party would partner SSNIT and real estate developers to solve the housing problems of the country. He said a PNC government would encourage the use of indigenious materials like limestone and bricks, as well as other less expensive materials, for construction. In that regard, a PNC government would support the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) to implement its research findings on how to build low-cost houses using its research materials. He said Ghana as a country should stop hurting itself and do things that had the people at heart and in mind.