Minister of Information Gospel Kadzako says the long-awaited Access to Information (ATI) Act will come into force this year, declaring that the Tonse Alliance government has nothing to hide.
Kadzako said this Wednesday when he officially opened a meeting on guidelines for Access to Information Act.
He is personally attending the meeting in Lilongwe.
“As the most transparent and accountable government, this government sees no reason why the Access to Information law should not be operationalized,” he said.
He said it was high time the law becomes functional.
The ATI law has not been operational since it was passed in December 2016 and assented into law in 2017 amid reports that the former Democratic Progressive Party led government passed it into law to hoodwink some donors who wanted to withdraw aid if ATI was not passed into law.
ATI objectives include providing people access to information from information holders and duty-bearers, ensuring that public bodies disclose information they hold and providing a framework to facilitate access to information.
The law also seeks to promote routine and systemic information disclosures, provide for the protection of persons who release information on public interest and facilitate civic education on their right to access to information.
The ATI law presents an opportunity for Malawians to exercise their right to access information. Although this right is already in the Constitution, it has been impossible for the people to exercise it because of a lack of the necessary framework and procedures for doing so.
The delay in putting the Act into force has been a cause for concern for several stakeholders, including Malawi Human Rights Commission (MHRC) and Media Institute of Southern Africa (Misa) Malawi Chapter who have asked government to explain the delays.