The National Media Institute for Southern Africa Malawi Chapter (NAMISA) says it is worried with the recent decision by the CABINET to reject the famous Access to Information Bill .
President for NAMISA Malawi Chapter Thom Khanje said as an organization they are very worried with the move made by CABINET, he, therefore said government must give reasons for sending the bill back to the parliament committee on Legal Affairs.
Earlier on, government assured Malawians that the bill will be discussed in the 46th sitting of parliament a development which pleased so many Malawians of good will. Sadly, while people were waiting for the bill to be discussed it was reported in one of the local news papers that CABINET has rejected it.
Khanje said this is a worrisome development in as far Access to Information is concerned and he described a move by CABINET as very worrisome saying that this has been done deliberately by some politicians who just want to achieve their own desires not the will of Malawians.
The former Information Minister Kondwani Nankhumwa , now Minister of Local Government and Rural Development who assured Malawians that the bill will be discussed, remained silent – only the leader of the United Democratic Front (UDF ) who is also a Minister in the ruling Democratic Progressive Party’s government was the only person who was in favor of the bill to be discussed.
The bill is very vital because it will give the public to actively participate in the national development , its absence is major blow as the country is facing economic problems because of the cash gate scandal that took place at Capital Hill between May and September in 2013.
The bill, which was drafted by different stakeholders led by NAMISA Malawi Chapter and government, gives the public a right to inquire certain information held by the authorities for the issues of transparency and accountability.
The battle to have a law on Access to Information bill began in 2003 when people realized that since the advent of multiparty democracy in 1994, the country had no policy that would give Malawians an opportunity to access to public information.