Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) have described President Professor Arthur Peter Mutharika’s move to delay the tabling of Access to Information Bill during this sitting of Parliament as unfortunate.

The development comes barely a day after an appeal from Media Council of Malawi Chairperson Thom khanje urging Malawians to press for the Bill.

In joint statement signed by Centre for Human Rights and Rehabilitation (CHRR) Director, Timothy Mtambo, and Centre for Development of People (Cedep), Gift Trapence made available to FaceofMalawi said the delay is an insult to Malawians.

“By promising Malawians what he cannot deliver, as is the case with ATI and other numerous instances, the incumbent is simply taking the citizens’ trust for granted. To this end, we call upon the President and the DPP [Democratic Progressive Party] government to ensure that the ATI bill is passed into law in the current sitting of Parliament. Malawians can no longer entertain further excuses on the Bill,” reads the statement in part.

Minister of Information and Civic Education Jappie Mhango told the press in a statement that the bill has been sent back for drafting, saying it contained several errors which need to be ironed out before tabling.

“Government wishes to inform the public that during its meeting on Tuesday, November 17, 2015, Cabinet considered the Access to Information Bill, and directed its Committee on Legal Affairs and Constitutional Affairs to quickly resolve inconsistencies therein. It is the intention of Government that we have a good and balanced law that is representative of all sectors of society.

“The Cabinet Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs has urgently undertaken to address the inconsistencies in the Bill in coordination with the Ministry of Information, Tourism and Civic Education; and the Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs,” reads in part the statement.

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