Malawi Congress Party (MCP) public relations director, Alekeni Menyani MP, has faulted President Peter Mutharika for debating the Access to Information (ATI) bill in public and offering amendments before parliament.
Mutharika is on record saying ATI law should not apply retrospectively and that it should only focus on information generated after its adoption.
President Mutharika cited two clauses in the Bill which he said he had a problem with that include a provision that would enable Malawians to recover any information that preceded the passing of the legislation and that no future Parliament would have power to change the law.
But Menyani faulted President’s amendment suggestions, saying it’s strange.
“My understanding is that before the executive comes up with a bill, they meet at Cabinet level and this where they do all the debate and their proposals and if they have the proposals, the responsible minister is the one who is mandated to bring such amendments at a particular time when the bill sees the light of the day in the august house,” said Menyani.
He made his comments on Times Television.
Menyani said it is “strange” that the President wants the amendments “even before the proposed bill has gone to parliament.”
He said the law does not allow parliament to discuss a bill “in anticipation.”
Menyani said: “Why can’t the President trust his ministers, trust his members of parliament, give them the information that they need, the proposed changes that he wants to see and not to allows to do this in anticipation.”
He said the whole idea of separation of powers is that “each branch of government has its own power to exercise.”
When he met media owners in Lilongwe recently, Mutharika challenged that he would not sign the bill into law even if passed by Parliament if it maintains some sections he expressed displeasure with.
“That provision [law applying retrospectively] has to go. And we cannot say no future Parliament can change this law, Parliament is sovereign. That also needs to be corrected,” he said.
Ministry of Information, Tourism and Civic Education has promised that the Bill would be tabled at the Mid-term Budget Review which starts February 22.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :