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In historic move, Hichilema signs Access to Information Bill


In a historic move, President Hakainde Hichilema has signed the Access to Information (ATI) Bill into law despite an out cry from certain Civil Society Organizations on its contents.

Parliament recently successfully passed the ATI Bill, marking a crucial stride towards transparency and accountability in the nation.

Hichilema signed the Bill into law at the end of the year press briefing held in Lusaka on Friday at Mulungushi International Conference Center.

Zambia officially joined the ranks of other African nations, including Kenya, Malawi, South Africa, Tanzania, Angola, and Zimbabwe, where ATI laws are already in place.

The ATI Bill which is now law, seeks to empower the public by providing wider access to information held by government officials.

This landmark legislation is anticipated to strengthen democratic practices and empower Zambian citizens with valuable information for active participation in governance

Information and Media Minister and Chief Government Spokesperson, Cornelius Mweetwa, recently underscored the government’s commitment to fostering public access to information during a press briefing.

Mweetwa highlighted that the legislation was designed to ensure that public resources genuinely benefit citizens.

He emphasized that the new law would compel public officers to share information widely, moving away from previous practices of limited disclosure.

“The law will compel public officers to give public information to the broadest audience possible. For example, instead of an officer who is employing staff or procuring goods for a public body only disclosing the information to personal contacts, he or she will be required by law to publicize the information beyond friends and relatives,” explained Minister Mweetwa.

Read More: Parliament has made history by passing the Access to Information (ATI) Bill.

Minister Mweetwa acknowledged the challenges faced in the past regarding the enactment of such legislation, citing concerns over government procedures, privacy invasion, and exposure of corrupt practices by public officials.

He, however, reassured the public that the new administration had revived the process with enhanced stakeholder consultation and benchmarking against international best practices.

“The New Dawn Government is committed to transparency and accountability as premised among the hallmarks of good governance.

“And in keeping with the electoral commitment made during the campaigns, we have brought this law to the House just as desired by the people of Zambia,” affirmed Mweetwa.

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