The government has called for patience among citizens and civil society organisations, some of whom are demanding to know contents of the Public Sector Review Report, which Vice-President Saulos Chilima submitted to the President on Friday.
Information Minister, who is also government spokesperson, Gospel Kazako said stakeholders should give President Lazarus Chakwera ample time to study the report, which was received in private.
Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC) Chairperson Gift Trapence is one of the people that have decried the secrecy around the report.
“While we celebrate this milestone, we are disappointed by the privacy surrounding the presentation of this highly-anticipated report to the President Dr Lazarus Chakwera at Kamuzu Palace,” HRDC says in a statement.
It adds that public sector reforms require the active participation of citizens.
The coalition has demanded that the report be made public so that Malawians can have access to it should they need to.
People’s Federation for National Peace and Development Executive Director Edward Chaka said democracy was synonymous with transparency and accountability, hence the President should inform Malawians about contents of the report.
Kazako has, meanwhile, said there is no problem with stakeholders demanding to know contents of the report.
He, however, said the report was meant to inform the President’s decisions, knowledge and inform how government systems could be improved.
“You can imagine that, in hardly few hours, the President had not even gone through that report and people are demanding that this report be released to the public. I think it is also very important for us to pay attention to certain details that the President sits in an office and there are so many things that he has to do.
“There are things that he can communicate to the public but there are some things, in line of duty, that he may not necessarily communicate,” Kazako said.
The minister further said the government recognises the existence of Access to Information Act but that, if one goes through the law, they may realise that there are some things that are administrative in nature and of national security that cannot be made public.
In February this year, Chakwera gave the taskforce 90 days to work on reviews.
Mathews Kasanda is a journalist who holds a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism from University of Malawi (The Polytechnic).
In 2015, Media Institute of Southern Africa awarded him the Best Print Media Education Journalist of the Year accolade.
He joined Times Group Newsroom in September 2019.