NCC rejects clause guaranteeing citizens the right of access to information held by Government.

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NCC delegates

THE National Constitutional Conference (NCC) has rejected a clause which could have guaranteed citizens the right of access to information held by Government.

Article 56 (1) (a) of the Willa Mung’omba draft Constitution states that every citizen has the right of access to information held by the State.

Contributing to the debate on the article, commissioner Divo Katete said he did not support the article because there was no need to release State information to the public.

Mr Katete said the State held information that was classified and could not be released to the public anyhow.

Another delegate, Japhet Moyo said the article was wrong because people would even be asking for reasons why the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) entered a nolle prosequi.

Foreign Affairs Deputy Minister Fashion Phiri said he did not agree with the article because even in the United States of America, information was kept secret even to researchers until after a certain period of time.

The NCC plenary, however, adopted article 55 (1) (a) which gives citizens freedom to hold an opinion and the freedom to receive or impart information or ideas.

Press Association of Zambia president Andrew Sakala and lawyer Patrick Matibini supported the clause, saying it should include the freedom of artistic creativity and academic freedom which were not covered in the current Constitution.

Bahati Member of Parliament Besa Chimbaka and Independent Churches of Zambia president David Masupa supported the clause while Anti-Voter Apathy director Bonnie Tembo said the article should not state that there would be no interference to receiving some information.

Article 55 (2) which was also adopted said the freedom did not extend to propaganda for war, incitement to violence and advocacy of hatred.

[Times of Zambia]

36 COMMENTS

  1. vote

    Am not surprised by this move. Anything that is progressive will be rejected. I know for sure another President will take us through this process again! It’s become a norm in Zambian politics for every new President to change the constitution. The more things seem like they are moving forward, the more they stay the same.

  2. vote

    When you critically analyse, you will notice that there is nothing like state secrete other than evil things like assesinations which govt will want to hide. Issues of state security such as Armed forces information will remain a secrete and the public never ask for it. Fair enough! Atleast I have not heard any Zambian asking to know how many misiles we have and the names of the soldiers runing them. Yes, this must be a secrete. But thats not what article was seeking to adress. The rejection of the article is very unfortunate. The people of Zambia are Govt. They can not sale their country but Govt leaders in posession of this same info are the ones who have been selling our country. This is a move to cover their criminality by withholding info. Shame, another scandle by NCC

  3. vote

    What is wrong with someone knowing why the DPP has entered a nolle prosequi? what is so damned secretive about this? Honestly Zambia’s first 60 years of independence will go down in history as the lost 6 decades. The amount of i.d.i.o.c.y is astounding!

  4. vote

    Yaba! the same laws these f o o ls are making will come to haunt them. I have never seen such a circus in my life.:-?

  5. vote

    Shame on th ncc,what a drawback to our country they lied that in america people have no right to information they should not use that as scheme to hide their criminal motives,to rupiah banda how advise him,he had chance on how he could have been remembered for,a president is measured by th goöd constitution to be left behind,iam lookng forwad to the day zambia wil have a constitution that wil stand the taste of time,we shud prepare for the best of our childrens children and not for the good of the present motives

  6. vote

    Free at Last, I agree with you. First, these chaps in the NCC have poor reasoning. In the preamble of the constitution it states that “We the people”. Could they define what they meant by “we the people” and tell us whether it meant those in government leadership and not all Zambians. It says We the people meaning every Zambia, born and yet to be born. Now We the people want to have information about ourselves. Those we have employed to look after our affairs should not taken as gods in the divinity sense, they are like us and we have merely asked them to take care of certain things. That Prof Fashion is a disaster. Agreed, military information, especially operational details including security details are a secret, not any other. Anybody can request information by filing a request…

  7. vote

    with their ministry of justice. An officer therefore holding that information is obliged to provide that information on request. Someone can take an officer to court who refuses to disclose information. In the US, people can access information on what their senators get in salaries, donations, including from their personal businesses. Access to information – except military secrets and intelligence matters – is progressive for this country and why shouldn’t Zambians be told! It’s fulishness being exhibited at NCC

  8. vote

    Nothing good is going to come off this NCC,anything they do is just against the common man,do they even think of their children,they think they are fixing someone,time will tell and posterity will judge them harshly

  9. vote

    What is going on in Lusaka Mtendere? What is Maimba doing with the pathetic roads in Mtendere.

    Can someone tell me what the Mtendere counsellor is doing please.

    We do not even know where his office is so that we show him how pathetic the Mtendere roads are. Is there any countability for money these counsellors are given by GRZ?

  10. vote

    i thought Ronnie Shikapwasha just came from a conference addressed by Jimmy Carter and Africa was a culprit for hididng information

  11. vote

    Civillians. Everywhere you go, you will find that certain info is not everyone ears. Banks got classified info, even marriages. No wonder at certain age parents stoppped us from entering their bedroom. Waigwila ka.

  12. vote

    Pliz
    Assistant MMD Chief Boot Licker
    Stick your brain to the headline. You are confusing intelligent pipo

  13. vote

    11 Assistant MMD Chief Boot Licker: That is not the subject. Flooding in Lusaka has always been there, may even before you were born. Poor propaganda training from USSR will not deter us from removing MMD from Plot 1

  14. vote

    I agree with some of the contributors who argue that rejection of this clause is wrong. I strogly believe that people can only make informed decisions and judgements on their government if they have information. What worries me most is that Zambians are a docile people – willing to accept any nonesense. We seem to be going backwards with entrenched and backward views of life and society. This witholding of information is what has led to the stupidity of party cadres and endless underemployed NGO’s. Ignorance is indeed the opium of the masses!

  15. vote

    #15 No wonder we shall never develop because we always refer to failures. And by the way it is not going to plot 1 that will change Zambian perception of looking at things. It is each individual’s thinking. I do not give it a hoot whether U go to plot 1 or not but since I am paying tax every month. I need to know how it is being used not how it was once used.

  16. vote

    Divo Katete a CBU dropout is a commissioner? These guys should be objective as they are deliberating on such serious issues!
    Indeed, its SHAME on you the useless NCC!

  17. vote

    #17 Assistant MMD Chief Boot Licker- I we I dont know how you think. You know for sure that the current councillors are powerless over the flooding in Lusaka but you want to finger point because they are from the opposition. By the way it is not just Lusaka which is swamped in floods even Central Province where a MMD is in the majority is facing the same problem. Of course you cant see very far.You call your self MMD so you must be in priveleged position of how much councils are using on what and why. Of course you cant see because you are bigotted. Yes Plot 1 can bring developmen depending on who the tenant is, but if it is Vasco RB Dagama, forget.

  18. vote

    Elolwanya. Hahahaha! Bakopo bonse ababa mu NCC.:))
    NCC is composed of bootlickers. They have completely trashed the key citizens’ Mungomba Report Submissions.
    They must as well dissolve the sittings. Who is to blame? You Zambians, you never learn. So long as there is a government, no favourable constitution will kiss Zambian soil. This constitution trash can only be done properly if there is no sitting president. But then how do we achieve this??????:-??

  19. vote

    Just what the hell is this? What is the level of education this embaciles have? Well, as one contributor has has already alluded to, some of thse laws this embacils are blindly will come back to bite them big time, in the backside!

  20. vote

    Again, this is a slap in the face of MISA and all media institutions in Zambia. The FOI bill has just met a dead end. It will be constitutional that you journalists don’t get to have these wolves called Ministers to account for their abuse of Tax payers money and for more pentinet issues that require public attention. This country is one big drama I tell you.

  21. vote

    Well, I doubt this f.o.o.l.s ever heard of an idle general called Godfooling Miyanda who brought the Public Order Act back to life via the back door while he was vice president only for the same piece of legislation, his own creation, to come back and bite the evil Brigadier in his backside! And he cried foul, loudly so! Amen. I just hope this legislation comes back to bite these delegates’ heads off because they do not seem to have any use for them. As for Miyanda, the bite in the a’r’s’e is the cause of his limping not only in locomotion but also in politics, he is never the same man he was in the army, well, before Kaunda tortured him to the point of defacating in his combat. Silly failed soldier.

  22. vote

    Am sorry for those that actually think the clause should have been adopted… dont forget if given a choice to be lied to or not say anything at all i would take the not say anything at all…

    In the US where they claim information is access by the public they also have a bill that allows them to distribute falce information. To make the public believe or debate on something that they want and possibly what they(government) see as progress or debate for public interest.

    So basically there is a mix of truth and lies all flowing at the same time then what do you believe? you are just better off keep classified files exactly what they are period.

  23. vote

    Good Morning

    Much as I agree that having a well informed populace is elementary in a democratic state, I think some kind of regulation is also necessary. It is important for the country to withhold any information that would endanger national security interests.

    Even in the EU certain information is “state secret”. If confidential information is conveyed to the citizens anyhow, it might wind up in the hands of criminal organisations. This includes personal data, which is withheld in protection of the citizens.

  24. vote

    #17. What we want is all councils accountable and running well. Why should a mere councilor be the only one to account? What about our ministers, were it is public knowledge of their theft. It is the responsibility everyone zambian to be transparent, accountable and rightegeous in their everyday life. Mostly the ruling party and government in power to lay the foundation and example. Personally I have no hope, because corruption and public theft has been sown nearly in every home in zambia, credit goes to ka Chiluba and others that have gotten away with such. Where else except Africa and pa zed you get away, unless you have no connection, criticize the president or a nobdy then you get dealt with. selective justice.

    • vote

      I looked over some thing simlair to this post while browsing google news I was interested and then started searching around, and landed here in any case, I believe that I agree with what you talk about here. However I’m going to go check what additional information I can look up as well.

  25. vote

    why am i not surprised? they can allow citizens to access to info because they ahve alot of hidden agendas.

  26. vote

    Divo Katete grew in mine township called Nchanga Mudzabwera township.This is a township whose toilets are outside the houses. His mother used to be a teacher at Kapisha primary school in Chingola and he is a son of unknown father. After dropping out at CBU, he went to Nortec to purse a technician course in mechanical engineering.However, he again failed in his 1st year and was instead pushed in to purse a much lower course which was a machining course and obtained a craft certificate at the end.

  27. vote

    #29 From what you are saying it seems that the boy has done good given the odds he had at the time of his birth and the ups and downs he encountered in his life which by the way we are all subject to. You could be in a big ku ma yardi today and end up ku ma shanty tomorrow.

  28. vote

    The reasons given by some of these delegates who rejected the clause are mind boggling.
    ….Why withold information if you have nothing to hide ?…And we’re not talking about intelligence info here.

  29. vote

    Ma activists in Zambia where are you?? support willa on this. Going foward, the NCC should adopt the draft clause that states that every citizen has the right of access to information held by the State UNLESS THE INFORMATION IS PERCIEVED TO BE A THREAT TO NATIONAL SECURITY thereby classified.
    I believe South Africa has this enshrined in their constitution.

  30. vote

    What mediocrity we have at UNZA! They mobbed Sata there and demanded a speech from him. Thewy don’t know him as well as I do. God bless the Motherland.

  31. vote

    #34. It is not easy to address intellectuals my brother. You need to be educated, probably more than them brother. I am sure the man can address them if only there is an interpreter from Bemba to english. Considering the educational background and the audience, of course

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