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 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).Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :