“Some of the Provisions will dilute the intention of achieving access to information”
….as the Access to Information Bill goes for second reading….
Wed. 13th December, 2023 (SMART EAGLES)
KAMFINSA Member of Parliament Hon. Eng. Christopher Kang’ombe says some of the proposals in the Access to Information bill will dilute the main intention of the bill.
“The provision under part 4 provisions for exceptions and section 22 which describes what matter qualify to be those of public interest. Madam speaker you will note that section 22 is at variance with section 24 because in section 22 the law is saying the following issues qualify to be those of public interest but when you go to section 24 a b their are some exceptions that these you can’t be provided with”
The Copperbelt parliamentarian highlighted the transaction between ZCCM-IH and Vadenta resources as an example stating that provisions such as section 24 will enable citizens compel Government to provide particular details of such agreements.
“It’s my considered view that section 22 and 24 in the context of public interest should be removed from this proposed bill to ensure that we achieve what we have always wanted to achieve as a country which is an opportunity for people to go to institutions such as IDC el others and request for information on issues that affect our livelihoods”
PART 4 SECTION 22 STATES;
(1) Despite any other provision of this Act, an information holder shall disclose information where the public interest in the disclosure of the information outweighs the harm to the interest protected under the relevant limitation of the right to access information.
(2) For purposes of subsection (1), the public interest includes the exposure of ——
(a) a substantial contravention of, or failure to comply with, a written law;
(b) abuse of auberiy or neglect in the performance of an
(c) injustice to an individual;
(d) danger to the life, health or safety of an individual or the public;
(e) an imminent environmental risk; or (unauthorised use of public funds.
- (1) Subject to subsection (2), an information
WHILE PART 4 SECTION 24 STATES;
(2) An information holder shall grant a request under subsection (1) if the information requested for
(a) already publicly available;
(b) about a third party who has consented in writing to the disclosure of the information to the requester;
(c) information the disclosure of which would facilitate accountability and transparency of decisions taken by the information holder other than preliminary results of any tests, research, preparations or other investigations conducted for the purpose of developing any policy;
(d) information which relates to the expenditure of public funds; or
(e) information the disclosure of which would reveal misconduct or deception
(1) Subject to subsection (2), an information holder shall not grant a request if the information requested for contains—
(a) trade secrets of the information holder or a third party;
(b) financial, commercial, scientific or technical information that is proprietary to the information holder or a third party, and the disclosure of which would or is likely to cause harm to the commercial or financial interests of
the information holder or third party; or
(c) confidential information supplied by a third party the disclosure of which could reasonably be expected to —
(i) put that third party at a disadvantage in contractual or other negotiations; or
(ii) prejudice that third party in commercial competition.
“Madam Speaker, and here is an opportunity for parliament to do the right thing by enacting laws that do serve the people of Zambia and not providing provisions that prevent citizens from accessing particular information that they require.
The KAMFINSA lawmaker said this when he debated the Access to information bill that was on the floor of the House for the second reading.