ATI law to graduate into a third dormant year

As the year 2019 comes to an end, marking close to three years since President Peter Mutharika accented to the long awaited Access to Information (ATI) Bill, government is still adamant to disclose the time as to when the law will come into action.

The controversial ATI law, which is expected to empower Malawians to seek information from elected officials and public entities, was passed in parliament on December 14, 2016.

About three months later, on February 10, 2017, President Peter Mutharika signed into law the long awaited bill but until now it is yet to be implemented.

But commenting on the implementation of the law, Minister of Information, Civic Education and Communications Technology, Mark Botomani said government will communicate soon as to when the law will come into action.

He said there are a number of processes need to be dealt with before the law comes into action.

Said Botomani: “What many people don’t know is that the law (ATI) requires thorough processes such as regulations that needed to be developed and that has been done by my ministry and have been sent to the Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs to be scrutinized in accordance with the law.”

He said once the analysis process is finalized they will need to look into various sectors of Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) to see if the examined regulations are vital to particular MDAs.

However Botomani said government is committed to see the law being implemented and a huge progress has been made so far to push the matter and a communication on when the bill will roll into action will be given soon.

The Malawi Human Rights Commission (MHRC) is designated to oversee the implementation of the Access to Information Act.

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