MP suspicious on Information Bill as Misa Malawi wants House to reject ‘adulterated’ Communications Bill

Lilongwe Msozi legislator Vitus Dzoole Mwale has raised suspicion that the Access to Information Bill may not be tabled in the House in this seating of parliament despite assurances from government including President Peter Mutharika.

Dzoole Mwale: Access to Information Bill is not appearing on order paper

Dzoole Mwale: Access to Information Bill is not appearing on order paper

Dzoole Mwale said it as surprising that the bill is not appearing on order paper as a notice.

All bills, reports and ministerial statements among others to be debated in the 193 strong House appear every day on order paper, a paper that details activities to be conducted in the House and is prepared every day by the leadership of the House known as Business Committee comprising of leaders of all political parties and the Speaker.

There was no immediate reaction from the government but President Mutharika, who made the bill as one of his campaign promises, assured the House that the piece of legislation will be tabled in this sitting of parliament.

A week before parliament convened, Leader of the House Francis Kasaila told journalists that the bill would not be tabled as technocrats are making final touches to the much awaited and publicised bill but minister of Information Jappie Mhango quashed Kasaila’s statement, saying government will bring the bill.

Meanwhile, in a related development, Media Institute of Southern Africa-MISA Malawi Members of Parliament (MPs) to reject the Communications Bill has been forwarded to Parliament from Cabinet because government has reversed stakeholders’ proposals which removed the Head of State as sole appointing authority for the boards and management of Malawi Communications Regulatory Authority (Macra) and Malawi Broadcasting Corporation (MBC) in the Communications Bill.

According MISA-Malawi Chairperson Thom Khanje said “the adulterated Communications Bill” is not in line with recommendations and general consensus from stakeholders who participated in its drafting of the bill.

“The independence of both MACRA and MBC was key in the review of the Communications Act of 1998. By maintaining the state president as the appointing authority for the boards and management of the two institutions, the cabinet has effectively rendered the review of the law useless,” said Khanje in a statement.

According to Khanje, the Bill as presented to cabinet, took into account emerging issues in the communications and broadcasting sector as well as the need to align regulations in the sector with progressive democratic principles.

Khanje has also urged government to recall the bill from Parliament and revert it to its original form as discussed and agreed upon by all stakeholders.

The proposed bill that was sent to cabinet suggested that members of the board of MBC, other than ex-officio members shall, upon being nominated, be appointed by the President and be confirmed by the Public Appointments Committee (PAC).

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John K Black
Guest

The legislators have the right to amendment. They can reverse the changes and pass the bill into law. And if government refuses to table the bill, any Parliamentarian can submit the original bill as a private member’s bill, to be passed into law. Parliament needs to take its responsibility, instead of letting the Executive take over.

MWASUWA
Guest

Mr khanje, don’t beat about the bush. ngati mwafika popempha amalawi kuti tigwirane manja, ndiye musazengereze. tell malawians what are zolakwika in the bill, what does it say, where and what you want to be amended and what did it say?

pido
Guest

DPP osamangoona kuti bill idutse no butt look at the holistic purpose

Njolinjo
Guest

This is a government of mafias’. I will never ever believe a single word from them.

levelheaded
Guest

Kodi Owen Khamula utolankhani unaphunzira kuti? Kapena Blantyre buss. College? Nthawi zonse tidzikhalira kukukonza basi? Talemba kuti auditorated not momwe walembelamo. Nkhani yako yonse kuti munthu ayimve eeeeeeiiiii.

levelheaded
Guest
Why is everybody talking about reducing presidential powers? The bill says without any need for dictionary translation,”access information bill” meaning giving a leeway to all malawians to get the needed information from government at any time they want. Why then attaching things like reducing presidential powers by not appointing macra and MBC board members? Are not telling us that this bill is just a samosa with a lot peppar to accomplish your intended motives. Why all this nonsense? Are these powers not what make a president? Can we call somebody a state president without any powers? Ku parliament akungokamba za… Read more »
Kamtwanje
Guest

Komadi bambo Khanje, upezeni mtima. One step at a time. Phuma silingatithandize ayi. Mukakana ndiyekuti bill imeneyi sidzalowanso ku parliament ayi tizingoimba nkhani ya bill imeneyi ngati Nyimbo.

Mphalapala
Guest
Malawians fail to understand simple things. you cant win all the battles NO. What is important is to win the war. Mr Khanje should know that just getting the bill see the light of the day would be a milestone. Now uf he starts lobying against the passing of the bill because he thinks the president has alot of apointing powers for MBC and MACRA then some of us will be tempted to think the Mr Khanje is MISSGUIDED and MYOIPIC. Lets pass the bill first coz am sure the appointing authority for the two institutions is not the only… Read more »
Truth
Guest

What is in the bill anyway? whose benefit is it, Malawians or individuals or jounalists? Shall it create wealth for Malawi or more confusion and fighting?

Blessed Banda
Guest

DPP can never be trusted. Very unfortunate that we have this thorn in our flesh in Malawi. Time is coming when Nebuchadnezer will eat grass. God fights for the welfare of the poor.

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