Justice and Peace under the Karonga Diocese has commended Government for operationalizing the long awaited Access to Information Act saying the move will give people the opportunity to seek information from duty bearers.
Speaking in an interview Project Coordinator for Justice and Peace Obert Mkandwire, said as one of the Civil Society Organization advocating for the operationalization of the Act for a long time, the move by Government represents exciting news to all citizens.
He observed that due to failure to operationalize the Act the citizenry among others had difficulties in seeking information on developmental activities in their communities thereby failing to hold duty bearers accountable for their actions.
“Access to Information is a constitution right for all Malawian hence we urge the duty bearers to be proactive in providing information to the public when the need arises because in most cases public officials have a tendency of reacting slow to change,” he said.
According to Mkandawire, through the public expenditure tracking process a lot of resources have been embezzled through stalled and substandard projects in councils hence the operationalizing of the ATI is a beginning to ending massive corruption of these projects.
“Since the public did not have the chance to access information that could have led to the uncovering of these corrupt schemes, communities were left powerless to take action thus missed out on holding duty bearers accountable,” he explained.
Minister of Information, Communications and Technology who is also the Government’s Spokesperson Gospel Kazako, said the operationalizing of the ATI is a sign that building a new Malawi has started.
“The operationalizing of the ATI is a symbol of the Government’s commitment to be transparent and accountable by making Malawians part and parcel of their government hence urge duty bearers to subscribe to the Tonse philosophy by providing information to the public when they ask for it,” Kazako said.