“Why extend exemptions to procurement in the military?” Kang’ombe questions Government

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“Why extend exemptions to procurement in the military?” Kang’ombe questions Government

…How many Zambians can afford a lawyer to appeal just to get information on a particular issue?…

Wed. 13th December, 2023 (SMART EAGLES)

KAMFINSA Lawmaker Hon. Eng. Christopher Kang’ombe has questioned government why the access to information bill is extending an embargo on accessing information on procurement in the defence forces.

Speaking this afternoon when he debated the Acess to Infomation Bill which was on the floor of the House for the second reading, Hon. Kang’ombe said Government is right to place an exemption of the access to information on Millitary operations because that is very sensitive information.

“Madam Speaker, this piece of legislation has provided for exemptions on military Information.”

“Madam Speaker, we have no problem and I believe citizens who are responsible have no problem with the Zambia Defence wings not providing information on operations because those are highly sensitive BUT when the exemptions extend to issues to do with procurement then we are concerned because the exemptions should only have applied to issues patterning to the operations the military and Zambia police, those that indeed boarder on state security but if this law is going to extend these exemptions to procurement meaning a citizen cannot ask for an information order to provide information on procurement under the military then we are concerned then the citizens who have been waiting for last many years should be concerned”

“What are we achieving if we are going to prevent citizens from demanding for information even on matters pertaining on procurement? So it’s my considered view that this provision exempting of information on procurement by defence wings should not be provided in this piece of legislation.”

Furthermore, the lawmaker questioned the channel of appeal if a citizen is denied access to information.

“If someone is denied information today this law is proposing that the first line of appeal is the human rights commission if HRC decides that indeed the information someone has requested shall not be provided that person has got the second line of appeal which is the high court.”

“My question to the minister is How many of our citizens today can afford a lawyer to pursue a matter in the high court of Zambia? Currently they are so many people who have been denied justice because they can’t afford a lawyer so how then do we deny people information and tell them go to court and ask the court for relief! Madam Speaker we are not achieving what we want to achieve!

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