Opposition ensures Malawi Parliament approve Access to Information Bill: Win for whistleblowers, media

Malawi opposition members of parliament (MPs) were steadfast to object to DPP-led government machinations to suffocate the Access to Information Bill (ATI) as they wanted to waive Standing Orders to accommodate other bills and they pressed on to have it passed in a late night.

Leader of opposiiton Lazarous Chakwera: MCP championed the passing of Information Bill

Leader of opposiiton Lazarous Chakwera: MCP championed the passing of Information Bill

Information Bill allows the public to seek for any information from government, and obligates public servants to make sure they provide that information, or risk hefty fines or jail terms.

If the government refuses to grant the information, or hides some of the information, then the public can report the matter to the Malawi Human Rights Commission for review and enforcement orders.

The opposition defeated government after two division roll calls, which proved that they had numerical strength 66 votes against 55 present to vote.

Minister of Information, Malison Ndau observed that there were some areas that needed to be looked into before the bill was passed and asked suspension to Friday to consult further with the powers-that-be.

Ndau observed that among the areas that needed further scrutiny was the clause which empowers the Human Rights Commission to play an oversight role in ensuring implementation of the bill, saying this was in conflict with the mandate of the commission.

But opposition pressed hard to have the piece of legislation enacted and they sailed through.

Dedza East MP Juliana Lunguzi (MCP) said the passing of the Information Bill is “victory for Malawians and democracy, saying Malawians have waited for too long for the ATI bill.

Chairman of the media committee, Sam Kawale said he expects President Peter Mutharika “will not take long to assent to it to be law.”

Former ministers who is Member of Parliament for Mwanza West Paul Chibingu, told the House “there was enough consultation on the bill and we don’t need to delay it any further, we should know that today we can be in government while tom morrow in opposition.  We must not do things to please an individual.

Access to Information Bill has failed to see the right of the day since it was first introduced in 2009 with all succeeding government failing to bring it to the level it has come.

Media Council of Malawi executive director Vales Machila and Media Institute of Southern Africa (Misa) Malawi chapter Thom Khanje have described the passing of the Information Bill as “victory for everyone in Malawi.”

After the bill was passed in the House, opposition MPs erupted into celebrations and singing songs: “Ailira! Ailira!” – Meaning the ruling party were mourning as democracy triumped.

Now all government information will be up for grabs to anyone interested, unless the State “proves” that the information has to remain classified or that relates to national security includes that on military strategy.

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Zilani
Guest
Well analyzed by Kent K.G. Mphepo. An important fact that bothers me is the existence of recycled politicians. They are the ones who don’t want to change things. A closer look reveals that Bakili Muluzi inherited the secrecy from MCP. And Muluzi’s team was comprised of MCP dissidents. It was just an old habit very difficult to die. The passing of ATI law should call for celebrations to patriotic malawians. Ironically, the president preaches patriotism and yet he warned he would veto the bill for reasons known to him and his midnight six team. Sometimes, it’s really hard to believe… Read more »
Harawa
Guest

iwe Chisa kwali Chisi I don’t mind ukhumba kunanga opposition nthuli zako wapulika iwe Chisa

Dziko ndi Anthu
Guest

Big up opposition keep on fighting up to the end!!!!

santana
Guest
Dear readers, can you re-read what Kent Mphepo is reminding us on what is happening with MBC radio and TV when we all know that it should be accessed by both sides, opposition and ruling party? When the MBC vote was passed that time the opposition celebrated as they have done yesterday, but what are we seeing now with the use of MBC? That time the opposition had a song to mock the ruling party after the so called victory, but did the then opposition really triumph? When the MBC bill was passed was there no penalties for the detractors… Read more »
Chambe
Guest

‘Now all government information will be up for grabs to anyone interested, unless the State “proves” that the information has to remain classified or that relates to national security includes that on military strategy”
Who is this state that will be responsible for proving that the information is classified? Is there a criteria used to classify information?

Can some one please give us clue on this?

Kent Y.G. Mphepo
Guest
Countrymen, nothing sounds more pleasing than hearing that this long-awaited bill has finally passed the first stage. Let me repeat, “the first stage”. In my view, creating an open society, that this bill promises, is a very critical step in the process of “deepening” democracy in Malawi. I feel that I do not need to remind Malawians that Government sits on three key cornerstones namely: the Executive (President, Cabinet & the Civil Service); the Judiciary (the Chief Justice and our courts) and the Legislature (Speaker and our MPs). These are supposed to check each other as they run government affairs.… Read more »
Wemawamungu
Guest

Kent Y.G. Mphepo you have constructively and objectively analysed issues!!!!

Retired
Guest

Wakwiya ndi mfiti for our nation.

kaka
Guest

You are there to do that not just wasting time, lets go to Electoral reform bill now, if God is for us who can be against us? well wishers lets hold our hands together and get out from this mess, enough is enough!!!!!, am sure electoral Commissioners they are busy doing their work not just sitting and waiting for 2019, let them work on electoral Reform and stop working on how they will rig the election in favor of ruling party, God is watching you.
God bless you.

Bulukulagwa
Guest

That’s the opposition that we need.Government should taste a hot soup now.Thumb up the opposition.

Ernest Phiri
Guest

Your honour, Pastor Malison Ndau, if you are not careful enough with the dpp crooks, you will finish like curtains. Remember if you happen to finish like that, we will not allow you to come back on the pulpit. Mukakhala ku “NAUDZU” ODALA. kkkkkkk.

wpDiscuz

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