The Jesuit Centre for Theological Reflection (JCTR) says enactment of the Access to Information (ATI) Bill will enhance citizens’ participation in national matters and encourage accountability and transparency in the use of public resources.
JCTR Southern Region Outreach Officer, George Makaha, says knowledge was a symbol of power and enactment of the ATI bill would promote healthy public debate on issues of national interest.
He says despite fears by some sections of society, enacting the ATI bill into law would not result in irresponsible reporting by the media and publicizing issues bordering on national security.
Mr. Makaha said this at Mukuni Village in Kazungula District yesterday during an awareness meeting on the importance of the ATI Bill. He said the role of citizens was to ensure governance was protected through enactment of the ATI Bill. Chairperson of the Southern Province ATI Taskforce, Emmanuel Chikoya, said he was hopeful the ATI Bill would be enacted into law when Parliament resumes sitting.
“As a Christian I am a person of hope; when you don’t change, change will change you. “I think a wise leader lives the times and the seasons and will make vital changes for the good of the people,” he said. Mukuni Chiefdom Prime Minister, Stanley Siachibi, urged subjects in his area to advocate for the enactment of the ATI Bill as they had the support of the traditional leadership in the area. “Such an issue like this one should be pushed very hard for people to become aware of what is happening around them as they will know where to take their grievances. Advocate for the enactment of the bill because you have our support,” he said. Recently, Information and Broadcasting Minister, Chishimba Kambwili, said the ATI Bill was expected to be tabled before parliament this year as the process of enactment had reached an advanced stage.