Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) are pressing President Peter Mutharika’s government to explain to Malawians on real reasons why the executive is failing to table, discuss and pass Access to Information Bill (ATI) in Parliament to enhance democratic principles which are some of its core values.
CSOs operating under the umbrella of Citizen Alliance have expressed surprise on why the DPP –led government is not taking it seriously to table the bill.
Citizen Alliance Executive Secretary, Wilson Asibu said CSOs have given the executive seven days to respond after noting that there is no movement on the bill.
“We demand that the executive should not politicize the bill because the bill is for Malawians and not for the journalists alone as some have thought it to be,” State of the Union(SOTU)Board chair, Martha Kwataine, said it is embarrassing to note that Government is contradicting itself on the matter.
Kwataine described the delay in passing the bill into law as childish and immature.
“As CSO we fill that we have been cheated on the matter and it is now clear that DPP Government is taking Malawians for granted,” said Kwataine.
Human Rights Consecutive Committee Chairperson, Robert Mkwezalamba urged Mutharika to exercise his powers and drive his cabinet to pass the bill for the good of Malawians.
“Enough is enough I think we have been too diplomatic,” said Mkwezalamba.
CSOs, including Media Institute of Southern Africa (Misa) Malawi Chapter, have been calling for the tabling of the Bill which will guarantee access to information.
The Peter Mutharika administration promised to table the Bill in Parliament during the current sitting of parliament, but the bill has been referred to cabinet committee on Legal affairs to iron out”incostisitencies”, prompting Misa Malawi to express disappointment.
Through its chairperson Thom Khanje, Misa Malawi observed that the Bill was ranked highly on Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) manifesto in the run up to May 20 Tripartite Elections and wondered why government is dallying it.
But NGOs and CSOs Presidential Advisor Mavuto Bamusi said in a democracy, every section of the society is given the right to be herd even on matters of policy in nature.
Bamusi said Cabinet too, is not exempted from this fundamental democratic principle.
“Therefore, CSOs should accept that cabinet has got its own views and opinion on matters of national interests since Cabinet is our custodians of our national interests,” said Bamusi.
Bamusi said it is unreasonable to give unnecessary ultimatums on Cabinet on such a matter that borders on constitutional right of the people.
“It’s unreasonable to expect cabinet to rush into issues without giving proper and thorough guidance.”Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :