Access to Information law delays further
BY FAITH KAMTAMBE:
It has emerged that the Access to Information (ATI) Act will not be operational this month, seven months after the Ministry of Information made the announcement.
Government spokesperson, Nicholas Dausi, said in an interview that the Malawi Human Rights Commission (MHRC), the Ministry of Justice and the Ministry of Information are still working on some modalities.
The ATI Bill was passed in December 2016 and, in January this year, the Ministry of information said, all things being equal, the ATI Act would roll out this July.
The ministry said structures to be put in place in readiness for commencement of the Act had been agreed upon and the only thing remaining were funds which, according to Deputy Director of E-government Victor Mallewa, would be provided for in the 2018/19 fiscal year.
Meanwhile, Dausi has said stakeholders involved are still working on some modalities, including the setting up of offices.
“MHRC, the Ministry of Justice and the Ministry of Information are putting up certain modalities— for example, offices of information officers who will be responsible [for implementation] in each district —and there will also be a need for us to create regulations with the Ministry of Justice. So, it [the Act] will be operationalised as soon as possible.
“Let us wait; we shall make sure that the work is expedited,” Dausi said.
Three institutions working on the ATI implementation are the Ministry of Justice, MHRC and Ministry of Information and Communications Technology.
In July last year, the three organisations announced that, before the Act rolls out, there would be need to appoint information officers and develop guidelines.
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