Government given two months on ATI


The Legal Affairs Committee of Parliament has given Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Information and Malawi Human Rights Commission (MHRC) two months to finalise processes for the operationalisation of the Access to Information (ATI) Act three years after it was passed by Parliament.

Representatives of the three institutions appeared before the parliamentary committee yesterday and were pressed to explain why the Act was taking long to be operationalised despite President Peter Mutharika assenting to it over two years ago, in 2017.

Chairperson of the parliamentary committee, Kezzie Msukwa, to ld representatives of the three institutions that it was unjust to the public that there was no movement towards the operationalisation of the law from primary implementers, Ministry of Information.


Member of Parliament for Chitipa South, Werani Chirenga, said the three institutions need to step up effort to make sure that the law comes into effect.

“Why are we delaying operationalisation of the law? Technocrats are to blame for delaying [the process]. That law was supposed to curb corruption in the country,” Chirenga said.

Responding to the queries from the committee, Principal Secretary in the Ministry of Information, Esmie Kainja, told the committee that he agreed with the observation made by the committee members and said they will adhere to the order given by the committee.


“We have to admit that we have made errors [that have led to the] delay of the operationalisation of the [Access to Information] Law. But the ministry [of Information] will make sure the regulations are clear in order for the act to start operating,” Kainja said.

Executive Secretary for MHRC, David Nungu, assured the parliamentary committee that the commission would push to make sure that the law is operationalised within the given time limit.

“We will adhere to the time-line you have given us. But just to bring to your attention on some update [on what] we have done so far, we have trained all district commissioners and all information officers in the government departments [on the ATI law]. We will, therefore, come back to the committee during the last week of January 2020 to report back on the progress [made to operationalise the law],” Nungu said

The ATI is a law that compels public institutions to make information accessing to all members of the public.

Among others, the law was put in place to curb corruption in the government which is mostly encouraged by a culture of secrecy in the government institutions.

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