Two local rights groups, Youth and Society-YAS and Centre for Human Rights and Rehabilitation-CHRR have condemned President Chakwera’s attempt to conceal a report on Public Sector Systems Review which Vice President Dr. Saulos Chilima submitted Friday last week.
The two organizations were reacting to Presidential Press Secretary Brian Banda’s sentiments that the President will not disclose details of the report.
Banda also said the public will only be informed of decisions made on the recommendations at an appropriate time.
In a joint statement, CHRR Executive Director Michael Kaiyatsa and YAS Programmes Manager, Amos Simwela have reminded the President and his Tonse administration that days for closed door, one-man decision making are over.
Kaiyatsa and Simwela say conceal contents of the report is inconsistent with section 37 od the constitution of the republic of Malawi and fails to pass Access to Information (ATI) Act.
“The decision is inconsistent with section 37 of the constitution of the Republic of Malawi. The decision also fails to pass the test of the Access to Information (ATI) Act, whose objective is to improve the flow of information from the government to citizens and ensure that citizens access the information held by government,” reads the statement in parts.The two organizations have also reminded President Chakwera and Tonse administration that the ATI Act was passed to allow Malawians see into the decision-making of their government.
CHRR and YAS have also challenged Chakwera to ensure speedy release of the report lest citizens begin viewing the current regime as attempting to govern through secrecy.
“When authorities make efforts to conceal decision-making processes, it serves only to undermine government’s transparency and accountability. It also closes the doors of mutual trust between citizens and their government,” reads the statement.
The two institutions have meanwhile urged authorities to desist from mking statements and taking actions that may be constructed as promoting a culture of government secrecy.
According to the two, Malawians need to have access to the taskforce report as it is of public interest since it was funded by tax payers’ money.
On 14 Februarey this year, President Chakwera directed Dr. Saulos Chilima to form and lead a taskforce to review three government systems of allowances, procurement and employment contracts and submit a report in 90 days.
State Vice President Saulos Chilima submitted the report to President Chakwera Friday last week.