MISA Zambia launches Golden Key report
The report was launched in commemoration of the International Right to Information Day which is celebrated on 28th September every year to promote the right to access to information for all people while highlighting the benefits of open, transparent and accountable government.
The Golden Padlock and Key Report is a report that details and analyses the transparency and openness of public institutions. It also gives a picture of how easy it is for Zambian citizens to access information from Government offices and public institutions and this report is produced annually.
MISA Zambia Chairperson Helen Mwale, in speech read for her by MISA Zambia National Director Austin Kayanda, said that the right to information was essential for a transparent and accountable government.
“As MISA Zambia we shall continue to advocate the right to access to information for all Zambians even as we stand together with other countries commemorating this important day.”
Ms. Mwale said the awards are a reminder to all government and public institutions that the information they are holding belongs to the people that put them in those offices and that the Zambian people have the right to access that information.
At the same launch MISA Zambia gave out awards to government and public institutions on how they respond to requests for information from members of the public.
The Golden Key Award for the most open government institution which went to the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) and the Golden Padlock Award for the most secretive institution went to the Ministry of Gender and Child Development (MGCD).
Meanwhile, Transparency International Zambia (TIZ) President Lee Habasonda, who was also the guest of honour, called on government and public institutions to be more open and receptive to requests for information.
He said lack of openness by government and public institutions breeds alienation between the people and the institutions therefore bringing about misunderstandings and speculations about the institutions’ operations and functions.
Mr. Habasonda added that lack of government transparency and availability of information has resulted in failure of citizens to hold public institutions accountable.
He further added that the right to know is a basic substance in any nation which helps to curb corruption and urged the government to immediately enact the Access to Information legislation.