Donors want Access to Information Bill enacted before aiding Malawi.
The Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA) has described as unfortunate, negligence shown by the Malawi government to enact the Access to Information (ATI) Bill, only after external Pressure.
The bill has been long awaited to be passed but the government never really considers it.
Reports indicate that the European Union has tabled a series of pre-conditions ahead of budgetary support resumption, and the ATI bill is seemingly the mainsail to secure the promised 29 Million Euros (about MK16.4 billion).
It is then speculated that ‘in a flash’, government opted to take the bull by horns; with the ministry of finance writing to the Ministry of information to fasten all needed preparations; for the bill to be tabled in the next parliamentary sitting.
Commenting on the matter, MISA chair Thom Khanje could only shed tears beneath disappointments on the government’s negligence and called for need be pushed to ‘walk the talk’It is very welcome news to the media fraternity.
It’s unfortunate (however)the bill is being considered now because of foreign pressures yet the constitution, when it was passed in 1995 guaranteed Access to Information” said Khanje.
Minister of finance Goodall Gondwe revealed the truth on the hard pre-conditions pressed while Minister of Information, Kondwani Nankhumwa, insisted his ministry is about to finalize every needed process to secure the much needed aid resumption.
Khanje says development is welcome
“I am told the ministry of finance has written our ministry informing us of the development. As a ministry, we are just waiting for the ministry of justice to send the bill back to us. On our part, we are ready since we have done everything that we were asked to do”. He said.
With the Malawian economy at its desperate knees, it has been a gurgling song among economic expert aiding the government to sleeplessly pray and beg for donor’s mercy; trashing the experimental zero-deficit budget which has proved to the social service delivery.
Knowing how essential the moment is to Malawians,Gondwe assured all Malawians that government will strive to meet all the EU demands within the a specified period.
Records hold that the fight for ATI Bill enactment bulged out as early as 2003, but governments have been leaving the bill untouched; and sometimes close, but no cigar.
If passed, Malawians will have free access to Public information which is very crucial to informed decision making among them.
Among others, the bill will also ignite the effectiveness of the 2014 Access to Information Policy which is currently labeled nonfunctional.