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ColumnsHitting The Nail

Hitting the nail: Yes, they are afraid of empowering us

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Despite protestations from Minister of Information Patricia Kaliati to the contrary, chairperson of Media Owners in Malawi Mbumba Banda nailed it when she said in Mangochi that politicians, especially DPP politicians including President Peter Mutharika (my addition), are uncomfortable with granting Malawians access to information by tabling and passing the Access to Information Bill.

And there is one reason why they are uncomfortable. They are not real democrats at heart and all they do is to pay lip service to it despite pretending to be otherwise.

They know they have so much to hide from the public that they cannot imagine giving Malawians a law that will empower them to physically check information in public offices.

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As for Mutharika, his behavior sometimes betrays the fact that he has spent 40 years in the land of democracy—the US.

He is a disappointment and his behaviour seen through the prism of ATI is deplorable and quite a shocker.

He has issued threats that he will veto any ATI that seeks to give Malawians access to past information but would only want us to access information from the day he signs.

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Since he is President he has made sure that this is the bill that he sends to Parliament against the wishes of us of all.

In other words, it is the wish of the President to impose on us all a law that he wants fashioned in his own image and likeness just because he is president.

Yet this is a bill that stakeholders have worked on

for many years even before he became one.

When all is said and concluded this should be the stand of those who want to see a proper Access to Information Law.

Mutharika and his government have shown through both words and deeds that they do not want to give Malawians a law they want.

Rather, they want to give us a half baked law just to please donors so that they have their money.

This is once again cheating by the DPP and they have conned Malawians enough. This time we should not let them do.

The bill should be withdrawn and the matter closed, at least for now.

No government stays forever and the same is true of DPP. In fact, nothing in this world stays forever.

There will come a government and a president who will have no qualms in giving Malawians a proper law that will empower them to check what their government is up to through access to information.

It happened through the same DPP. They thought they are gods with a majority they had in Parliament between 2009 and 2012 and they started passing crazy laws that aimed at stifling our freedoms.

They wanted media houses closed at the most stupid excuses and wanted Malawians to suffer the injustice of not getting injunctions at the High Court unless government was represented.

All this nonsense was reversed when Joyce Banda came to power after the death of former president Bingu wa Mutharika.

In short governments come and governments go just like presidents.

The DPP is antidemocratic and anti-freedom and empowering people with information is the last thing on their minds.

There is so much they are doing as I am writing this that they would not want Malawians to know about.

They are plundering and destroying this country and evidence is there for all to see. No day passes without some billions of kwacha somewhere being stolen that we, in the media, are overwhelmed so much so that we cannot match up and accordingly inform and enlighten Malawians.

They are being forced to talk about ATI because of circumstances prevailing, manifested in the strong lobby for the bill and pressure from donors.

And so they want to con us. They can have their ATI. We will have ours when our time comes.

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