EU envoy to Malawi calls for Information law

Head of European Union (EU) delegation to Malawi , Marchel Gerrmann on Thursday urged the Malawi Government to push for enactment of access to information Bill (ATI) into law.

Ambassador Marchel Gerrmann EU Head of Delegation

Ambassador Marchel Gerrmann EU Head of Delegation

Gerrmann was speaking in Lilongwe during a luncheon which the ambassador organised for the  members of Bwaila Media Club(BMC).

“The law will help to make government accountable to its people since the media and the citizens will have chance to ask and demand vital information from the Government, so failing or delay in passing the bill into law is denying citizens right to information,” said Gerrmann.

Gerrmann commended Malawi media for the role  it is playing in  educating and informing the masses in different topical issues of public interests.

However, the Ambassador was quick to urge media to be professional all the times.

“Let me take this opportunity to ask the media to be professional all the time. There has been some instances where the media has misquoted me,” said Gerrmann.

Speaking during the function, Bwaila Media Club(BMC) Chairperson, Peter Makawa, commended the Ambassador for giving the club members chance to interact with him.

Makawa said the BMC intends to engage local membership its audience and communities in club activities that underscore the importance of a free and transparent media that acts as vibrant agent of information between policy and decision makers.

Recently African Commission on Human and Peoples Rights  asked Malawi government to provide the Commission with information on when the Access to Information bill will be tabled in Parliament and enacted.

The bill has undergone a number of reviews from a wide range of stakeholders, including MPs, civil society organisations, government ministries and judicial officers.

Due to political obstacles, the bill has not yet been enacted into law.

Malawi government through the Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs Samuel Tembenu pledged of government’s commitment to ensuring that Access to information bill is passed into law soon.

EU is a member of the disbanded Common Approach to Budgetary Support (Cabs) which suspended budget support to Malawi in September 2013 following revelations of abuse of public funds at Capital Hill commonly referred to as Cashgate.

Malawi depends on donors for 40 percent of its recurrent budget and 80 percent in the development budget.

Media watchdog MISA Malawi has been campaigning for legislation on ATI since 2003, with development of a draft ATI Bill. In 2009, government indicated that the ATI Bill could not be tabled in Parliament unless accompanied by a policy on the same.

The adoption of a Policy on ATI in January 2014 paved the way for finalization of the ATI Bill and its tabling in the National Assembly. MISA Malawi has been campaigning for legislation on ATI with funding from different partners chief among them Trilithons, OSISA and UNESCO.

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8 thoughts on “EU envoy to Malawi calls for Information law”

  1. Kingsley Jika says:

    This bill is a stanchion in curbing corruption & in creating a responsive gvt with a people equipped to participate fully in affairs about them. There are fears that the intention could be to trip those in power. ATI is never meant to; in fact, it is balanced with other provisions of the Constitution which safeguard private life. The problem with our media is that they say nothing about that balance; their approach is misleading & I’m not surprised every gvt ducks ATI. Second, understand other pieces of legislation that facilitate access to info, eg the hated E-bill. When a bill contain some seemingly suppressive provisions the answer is to use the Constitution to challenge them not to refuse everything about it. The easiest way to steal money today is electronic. How could we access pub info if we have a weak e-government machinery yet the fourth space – Internet – is where all debate & larger part of transaction take place. Assure gvt the target is not those in power; the purpose is transparency & accountability, openness, gvt responsiveness & citizen participation.

  2. Dominic says:

    Only God knows what we all are up for

  3. Chenda says:

    I think the nature of the law will not allow confidentila information to leak.

  4. chimwemwe says:

    Donors also consider giving aid as dont punish all malaiwans for mistakes by few politicians, as if Malawi collapses as a nation you will see migrants from here heading toward your countries, so please fulfill your moral obligations

  5. Kanyimbi says:

    These westerners forced us to devalue our currency, now we are in trouble and they are withholding their donation.

  6. Mathanyula says:

    My dear Marchael, you mean this media do misquote you the way they with me mathanyula. I have a rote media.And you feel insulted as I do.

    By the way is your name spelt as Gerrmann or German or GGeerrmmaann. hahaha I am having a good day.

  7. Zanako says:

    Every leader was entrusted with leadership by God whether we hate them or love them .

  8. Dwambazi says:

    Mathanyula kusowa kothawila,,,,,,,, under pressure!

Comments are closed.