UPND Spokesman Charles Kakoma
UPND Spokesman Charles Kakoma

The United Party for National Development has appealed to Chief Government spokesperson Dora Siliya to publish the contents of the approved Access to Information Bill so that people are able to scrutinize them.

Party spokesperson Charles Kakoma noted that this is not the first time the Patriotic Front government has issued statements to excite Zambians on the Freedom of Information Bill with Justice Minister Given Lubinda in February 2017 having assured stakeholders that his ministry had engaged other line ministries so that the contents of the bill is made available.

Mr. Kakoma noted that to date, the draft bill has not been made available and now Zambians are being told that it has been approved, contrary to what Mr. Lubinda had promised.

He said the UPND is also cognisant of the fact that the same bill was presented to Parliament in the year 2002, more than sixteen years ago through a private members motion and government tricked the MPs who presented the Bill to withdraw it so that it is tabled by a Cabinet minister and to allow for more consultations.

He alleged that one of the countries that Zambia has consulted over the Freedom of Information Bill is Zimbabwe, where the Freedom of Information Act is used as a tool for suppressing freedom of expression and media freedom instead of enhancing people’s access to information held by public institutions.

Mr. Kakoma said the original objective of the information law was to enhance transparency and accountability in order to empower people to make informed decisions adding that it is supposed to help the country in the fight against corruption, mismanagement of public resources and mal-administration.

He said the UPND is suspicious because this approval comes at a time when there is heightened clampdown on media freedoms as well as shrinking media space in the country.

“It’s also shocking that a government which has hijacked, manipulated, threatened, cowed down and bought off a number of media houses for the sole purpose of monopolizing the dissemination of information would in a twinkling of an eye rush to approve a Bill whose content is only known to themselves. As a result UPND remains sceptical of the schemes of the PF government as the public is not aware of the contents of this Bill due to lack of adequate stakeholder consultation. It should not be a Bill meant to hide secrets and sweep dirt under the carpet in order to preserve the PF’s hold to power”, he said.

Mr. Kakoma said it is deceptive and self-contradictory on the part of the PF to hasten to enact the Access to Information Bill with the intent of gaining political mileage on one hand, while on the other hand shutting down media houses on the false pretext of unprofessional, unethical and biased media coverage.

He said it is clear, government is trying to shift attention from the condemnation it has received from local and international stakeholders over the closure of Prime TV for showing scenes on the attempted assassination of the UPND President Hakainde Hichilema in the Sesheke parliamentary by election.

He has reminded the PF to respect the numerous protocols, treaties and agreements bordering on freedoms to which Zambia is a signatory such as the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights and the Declaration of Principles on Freedom of Expression in Africa.

He said Public bodies hold information not for themselves but as custodians of public good and every citizen has a right to access this information.

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26 COMMENTS

  1. Ba Dora Siliya fipeni fi upnd ifipuba kwati ni mbwa ishapena. Fipeni please fiyimwene. Nimbwa ishishi contololwa

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  2. Ask your MPs . Are they not in parliament. May be they were again sleeping. In the constitution ammendment process they had approved 14 days to challenge presidential results. Only to come and wake up when the leader failed to prove his case in 14 Days.

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    • Upnd MP do nothing in Parliament but just looking for the window to impeach Lungu and boycotting events. Your MP must have this information you’re looking for.

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    • Information bill is about arresting anyone NOT praising PF.
      They send teachers to jail for insulting PF leader, can you imagine that!!!?

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    • He is an MP. He has access to this info. That’s why he is in parliament. Notions are tabled and everyone sees the agendas.

      He has a responsibility to tell the public if he sees government is not doing it .

      What is his motive.

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  3. This is a good example of checks and balances, to hold public officers to account for decisions

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    • LT can you use that picture were kokama and the police were pulling each other. That says alot about this guy.

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  4. Kakoma, ask your MPs about the contents of this bill. Parliament thoroughly scrutinises bills before they see the light of day. See now how the whole nation loses out when you choose to walk out as opposition at the crunch time.

    If indeed ECL is on a path dictatorship today, it is because the opposition has cheered him on by ignoring to check him in parliament. The many UPND parliament walk-outs are deservice to the nation and the remnants of democracy.

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  5. Is it viable to have such a bill when the constitution that we have is very oppressive? We need to iron out certain provisions of law such as the Public Order Act in order to come up with such a bill. We have given a lot of powers to state agents to suppress our rights. It will be very difficult to come up with such a law in an environment where citizens ‘rights are suppressed owing to archaic laws in the constitution. What assurance are we going to have that state agents won’t be sweeping ,the debris of information, under the carpet because of being backed up by the law of the land? Let’s harmonize the Access to Information Bill with Constitution of the land. Otherwise Access to Information Bill will be in conflict with the current constitution.

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    • @Mbaluso, how are the bad provisions of law going to be ironed out when each time the constitution is tabled for discussion the opposition boycotts it???

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    • Dont forget that this same clause was one of the many upnd decampaigned in 2016 referendum. It failed to be enacted because yo dundumwezi leader didnt want it.

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  6. Kakoma , are you sure that only you and UPND followers didn’t know and check what is the bill of information..?
    Don’t pretend kakoma.The Bill of information was at ministry of justice,alongside independence avenue in – between Ministry of Agriculture and Cabinet offfice where you find myriads of UPND sightless followers.
    If there is useless opposition political party that Zambia has ever had is this called UPND.
    Too much of chicken psychology.Just wait for these by-elections to pass is when you will believe that people would always vote for PF regardless of the economic hardships because UPND behaves like “ MUSLIM BROTHERHOOD “.

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    • Mr. Pilock
      Watch your tongue !mbecile. Do you brainless son of many fathers know what “MUSLIM BROTHERHOOD” stands for?

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  7. If I was PF, I would make sure a pass so many laws as soon as the opposition walks out. On the other hand, what assassination attempt did prime TV cover that these people keep talking about? The best assassination will come in 2021 when their mighty ruler loses Hagain.

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  8. As a Zambian citizen who uses social media a lot I would also like to know what’s in the bill, i have a feeling pf wants to crank down on social media platforms and what’s said on them because these are not under IBA thus they is nothing the government can do about them

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  9. Yes we also want to know what the bill says before parliament approves. For all we know it might be the opposite of what people want and parliament will just be used as a rubber stamp to approve it.

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  10. These nicompoops actually piss me off. They ask to be fed but refuse to open their mouths. Anyway desperation can drive one mad.

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  11. As an ordinary citizen who will be affected by this bill, I surely wish I could see what my government is proposing before it gets to the ‘hear, hear, hear’ stage.

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  12. chimbwi Kakoma…people have been begging you to participate in these critical matters but you stupidity of your leader and youselves chose to stay away abe began making fun of this important national issue. Now that PF decided to go ahead now you want to cry. What kind of idiocity is this, are bewitched or suffering from metal disorder or what?

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  13. Tonight I feel lazy to comment…. trib.als is all I see!
    And by the way what species is trib.al? Very difficult to understand… trib.als eissshh!!

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