The Malawi opposition law makers in parliament have barred the long awaited Access to Information Bill from being tabled in the August house saying the bill has some infection that must be cured. The bill was presented by the Minister of Information Patrician Kaliati on Friday morning.
According to the opposition, the bill must go back to the legal and media committees in the Parliament for scrutiny.
Malawi Congress Party (MCP) deputy spokesperson as well as law maker for Lilongwe Chimbalanga area Ezekiel Ching’oma described the bill as a block to access information.
“Why should the bill demand Malawians to pay fees any time they want to obtain information from their tax payers’ offices? Is this making them get information easily?” wondered Ching’oma.
“Without taking the house’s time, as MCP we want Malawians to be obtaining information freely and by introducing fee it means that this Democratic Progressive Party government wants to wrap information to the community which is contrary to the constitution,” he said.
The MCP law maker also demand government to insert a clause in the bill that allows Malawians to start obtaining information from public offices before the bill became into the law.
Concurring with Ching’oma, Peoples’ Party (PP) Mzimba north law maker Agnes Nyalonje said the bill has a lot of resistant for Malawians to access information.
She asked government not regard the bill as their any, rather than the bill that will help to bring good governance.
Speaker of Parliament Richard Msowoya had no other choice but to refer the bill back to the committees as demanded by the opposition.
Malawi media bodies and some civil societies have been battling with government to pass the bill since it was gazetted on 19 February 2016.