Finally! Malawi Parliament passes Access to Information Law

41

…Govt fails to block the Bill

Long at last. The Malawi Parliament last night passed the Access to Information (ATI) Bill which has been highly fought for years.

However, there were what looked like deliberate ways by the government side to block the bill from passing only for the opposition to rally behind it using the numerical advantage during the sitting which led up to 8:15 P.M.

Leader of the House George Chaponda had argued with the house that the Ministry of Information had wanted to look into a number of alterations to the bill before it got passed, the opposition maintained the argument did not hold any water because the bill had had been left at the committee stage.

Parliament

Parliament passes ATI Bill.

According to Chaponda, the bill should have come after the house deliberated on  the National Planning Commission Bill. The opposition however felt this was the means to stop the bill.

Opposition Peoples Party’s Raphael Mhone opposed Chaponda by saying the bill was not exception to be abandoned as it had already been in the committee stage and therefore had to go on.

The other opposition bloc maintained that there have been numerous consultations on the bill before and that the argument for more alterations o the bill was not making sense at all.

After a heightened debate, Minister of Information, Malison Ndau did the third reading and this meant the bill was passed.

Meanwhile, the Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA) says this is a very welcome development to the nation and the media fraternity.

The the Access to Information Bill, seeks to accord access to public information in the custody of various private and public institutions.

The right of access to information is enshrined in the country’s 1995 Constitution, which states, “[s]ubject to any Act of Parliament, every person shall have the right of access to all information held by the State or any of its organs at any level of Government in so far as such information is required for the exercise of his rights.”

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41 Comments

  1. Congrats to DPP for allowing this ATI bill to go thru in parliament. A Malawi for a longtime did not have this bill. Ankadziwa kuti bill iyi a Malawi sitiwaponda. M’malo mwake kuwopsyeza, kumanga athu, even kuphedwa kumene.

  2. Government wanted to block it? who brought it in Parliament? opposition or government? Let’s wait and see how it will help to reduce poverty in our country.Democracy in poor nations

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  4. Some people did not want this bill to be passed, fearing exposure of their corrupt bahaviour, 577 billion kwacha…we need to know the names now!!!!!!!!