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Taskforce convenes for Access to Information

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Joint task force comprising representatives of the Malawi Human Rights Commission (MHRC) and the ministries of Information and Justice is scheduled to start meeting today to put together specific documentation as part of implementation of Access to Information (ATI) Act.

The documents include prescribed forms for application of information.

In an interview on Wednesday, MHRC Chairperson Justin Dzonzi said the taskforce was created last month but this would be their first meeting.

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Among others, the task for c e would be responsible for various social and technical structures that are being put in place for the implementation of the ATI.

He said the joint taskforce would only enforce the implementation of the law after which the MHRC shall proceed with its mandate as overseers of the law.

“Sections seven and eight of the ATI give MHRC the mandate to oversee the Act. But at a certain level we shall formulate a sub-committee or a directorate that shall specifically concentrate on the Access to Information law,” he said.

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Dzonzi said MHRC has made a draft budget of K28 million which has been submitted to the Ministry of Finance waiting for Parliament’s approval.

“We only hope the budget will be approved by Parliament,” he said.

MHRC is mandated to prepare and submit to Parliament annual reports of all activities undertaken by the commission.

The commission also has powers to summon any public officer, who without sufficient reason, refuses to give information.

The approval of the ATI law means Malawi joins 18 other countries in Africa who have similar Acts.

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