Information minister Jappie Mhango says government will not be stampeded into passing the Access to Information bill into law under pressure from donors.
Mhango said this Thursday during an interview with Capital Radio’s Day Break Malawi program after a journalist told him that the delay in passing the bill is holding K80 billion in European donor money.
“When we are working, we don’t work under pressure, we can’t work just because some people are pushing us. We work for Malawians,” said Mhango in apparent reference to donors demand.
The European Union has given the government up to December 31 to pass the bill otherwise it would withhold the K80 billion.
Malawi is facing the worst economic woes since 1992 when donors withdrew aid to force the country embrace multiparty system of government.
Mhango, in the interview insinuated the European Union is free to withhold the aid package but the government would not be forced to call for an emergency meeting of parliament before the December 31 deadline expires.
The Information minister also wondered why the powerful media owners and managers have decided to petition President Peter Mutharika on the matter in newspapers and radios where they are placing petition advertisements.
“You don’t serve a petition to government through newspapers, you write the government,” he said.
He said President Mutharika is ready to meet Leonard Chikadya, Times Group managing director, Mbumba Banda, Nation Publications Limited chief executive officer and Gospel Kadzako, managing director of Zodiak among others who signed the petition on Access to Information bill.
“He is willing to meet the media owners, audience was already granted only that he has been busy, his schedule has been tight,” said Mhango.
Mhango could not however say the inconsistencies that led to the delay in submitting the bill to parliament in the last seating of parliament, saying they will be known after the cabinet committee on legal affairs have met to scrutinise the bill.
He wondered why journalists are pressing for the bill when everyday their newspapers are covered with news back to back and radios in the country have news aired all day long.
“I wonder what type of information you want, you the media puzzle me,” said Mhango.
Mhango claimed he had not seen the petition advertisements in newspapers although he had heard about them.
Executive director of Media Council of Malawi Vales Machila said he has not received communication from the government since they started putting the petition advertisements in the media.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :