After years of talk, the three-month old Tonse Alliance administration has finally gazetted the date for commencement of Access to Information (ATI) Act.
Minister of Information Gospel Kazako confirmed yesterday saying he has appointed September 30 2020 as the day the Act will become operational.
The Act provides for the right of access to information in the custody of public bodies and private entities contracted by the government.
Meanwhile, Misa Malawi has applauded government for operationalising the Act which will enable Malawians to seek, receive and impart information with legal backing and ease.
In a statement signed by Misa Malawi chairperson Teresa Temweka Ndanga, the body said the gazetting of the commencement date cements the positive strides made in the past 17 years when MISA Malawi
together with other stakeholders initiated advocacy work for the enactment of the ATI law.
“Misa Malawi hopes implementation of the ATI Act will guarantee access to relevant public information and help build public trust in government operations. It entrenches the key values of transparency
and accountability, which are pillars of good governance,” reads the statement in part.
However, Misa Malawi has reiterated its call to government to allocate enough resources to the Malawi Human Rights Commission (MHRC) to
effectively enable it carry out its oversight role.
“Public bodies should also appoint information officers who would handle information requests.
“We expect Malawians to fully utilize the law to ensure a transparent and accountable government which is supported by strong democratic institutions,” said Ndanga.