Access to Information Bill to serve citizens better –Lubinda

Sat, 11 Feb 2017 09:57:05 +0000


THE Access to Information Bill is still under scrutiny to ensure the necessary systems are in place to ensure it provides to citizens what is written in the law once it is passed, says Justice Minister Given Lubinda.

Speaking on Thursday in Lusaka during a Universal Periodic Review Civil Society Organisations consultative meeting, Mr Lubinda said that Government was determined to enact the Access to Information Bill which he said was in a draft form, saying systems such as a robust archive among others needed to be in place to readily provide the necessary information to citizens.

He said that the piece of legislation was at the Ministry of Justice and that significant progress had been made, saying it was not lack of willingness from Government to enact the law but that it would not want to pass a law that would be a source of contention if information was not provided to citizens as stipulated in the law.

Mr Lubinda said that in some countries it was a requirement that when a citizen asked for certain information, it needed to be provided within a specific duration.

He said that another concern was whether the country had a robust archives system which would provide information from 1964 to date, saying there was need for appropriate mechanisms in place.

“Over the period, we have been discussing what kind of systems must be put in place to make ensure that what we are writing in the law can be provided to citizens so that it does not become a source of contention.

“In some countries, the law says that when a citizen asks for information from the State, it should be provided within a week. Failure to which the State will be taken to court. Does the country have a robust system such as in the archives to provide information to citizens from 1964 to 2017? So, it’s a question of having a robust system,” he said.

Meanwhile, the minister said that the Legal and Justice Sector Reform Program had commenced in  eight provinces so far and that they could make recommendations based on their findings in the justice sector once  all the ten provinces had been covered.

He challenged the media to interrogate some politicians who had continued to call for judicial reforms, saying that it was because they were aggrieved that their cases had not seemed to go in their favour and resorted to calling for the removal of some members of the bench and labelled some judges unworthy as well as corrupt.


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