Malawi govt short-changing the passing of Information Bill

Malawi government on Tuesday created excuses to derail the process  of  passing the Access to Information (ATI) Bill with amendments which the  Legal Affairs and Media Committees suggested after consultations.

Kawale: Pressing hard for passing of Information law despite DPP excuses
Kawale: Pressing hard for passing of Information law despite DPP excuses

Government side suffocated the enactment of the  ATI because amongst the amendments, there is a proposal that tax-funded  constitutional body the Malawi Human Rights Commission (MHRC) should act as the oversight body on the right to information.

MHRC was removed by government on that role  complicating the people’s ability to challenge authorities for information.

But Minister of Information, communications technology Malison Ndau told the House that MHRC has refused to take up the role of a refreee over human and other breachers authorities may make after the Bill is passed.

Ndau said MHRC is too busy to have added responsibilities.

But chairperson of media, Sam Kawale and legal affairs, Maxwell Thyolela  – all from opposition Malawi Congress Party (MCP) challenged the minister that he was not telling the truth because MHRC had indicated already they were willing to take up the role when the Bill is passed into a law.

The opposition lawmakers argued that MHRC had only pleaded  for allocating of resources to the commission for operations in the role.

But government did not wnat to proceed to debate and pass the ATI and Second Deputy Speaker Clement Chiwaya called for a vote on whether the committee stage debate be curtailed.

The ‘No’ from the opposition carried the day with  56 votes while the ‘yes’ from government lost with 52 votes.

However, there were 83 absentee MPs during the voting.

Leader of the House, George Chaponda asked for the committe stateg debate to be deferred to another day while the opposition pressed hard to conclude the debate.

The 46th session of parliament has few days to wind up and ATI bill may be aborted by government with its delaying tactics and  machinations to frustrate the process of enacting into law..

It is expected the Bill debate will continue on Wednesday as opposition demand that ATI must be passed without unnecessary debates as it is the beacon of checks and balances in a democratic society.

Late last year, Minister of Finance, Economic Planning and Development Goodall Gondwe said donors tied  the Infomration Billl to conditions that would see resumption of aid if fulfilled.

But President Peter 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.

Information law has been argued to be critical to governance and democracy as it promotes the principles of transparency and accountability.

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5 years ago

Mukuwona ngati lamulo limeneli lingagwire ntchito ngakhale litachita pass? Munthu wa ndale muli naye ndi chilendo kani? Kodi palibe lamulo loti MBC isamagwiritsidwe ntchito ndi chipani cholamula chokha? Koma practically chikuchitika ndi chiyani? Palibe choti chisinthe apa unless ndinu alendo m’dziko lino koma politician wa chi Malawi sangavomere kuti chilichonse chimene wafunsa mtolankhani ndunayo izingoti ”ndizimenezi bwana awuzeni a Malawi.” Kenaka mudzafuna kudziwa zomwe simuyenera kudziwa ngati zomwe munkakakamira za matenda a president posadziwa kuti pali kudwala kwake komwe dziko liyenera kulengeza koma inu mumafuna kudziwa ndi zoti ku maliseche kwa president kukuyabwa kapena ayi. Bill imeneyi siyisintha chilichonse ndikukuuzani.

5 years ago

DPP is so fearful of ATI so much it will do anything to prevent it from passing or twist it to its favour.ATI law will expose many serious curruption issues including of DPP’s.May external intervesion force should apply.

5 years ago

Putting spanners in the way of passing ATI bill is a form of corruption. What is govt afraid of? Wants to continue concealing information? This is a very clear sign that APM, cabinet and govt structure r engaged in shoddy activities and want to continue doing so.

Dowa Boy
5 years ago

These DDP thugs are taking this country as if it only belongs to them, take it or not, God is watching and some day things will turn around. We are suffering, struggling in all angles because of you………

5 years ago

This DPP headless govt thrives on corruption. They know the ATI law will help fight corruption at source, the thing this corrupt govt is not keen to do.

You remember how APM bought Blantyre City Assembly house? That is corruption. Remember how the tractor sale was conducted? That is corruption. You know how big the UNGA entourage was selected? That is corruption. Remember why senior Finance official resigned from ESCOM? That is corruption. The list is endless.

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