MISA challenges President Lungu to table ATI Bill to curb continued misappropriation as shown in the Auditor General’s report

It is saddening to note that yet again, the Auditor general’s report has shown glaring irregularities in the administration of colossal sums of money which could have been channelled to various developmental activities.

As an institution, we have been advocating for the enactment of the Access to Information legislation as a step towards the safeguard of public resources as it will help to bring about increased transparency and accountability.

Through the ATI bill, such high levels of misappropriation which have become a trend will be averted because citizens will be able to hold those in power truly accountable because they will be able to proactively monitor the disbursement of funds and subsequent implementation of activities in their constituencies.

It is evident that corruption flourishes in an environment of secrecy and it is the fruits of this secrecy that Zambia is currently reaping, as shown by the 2014 Auditor-general’s report.

Currently, existing laws on state secrets tend to classify even public interest information, even though governments hold information on behalf of the public who are the intended beneficiaries.

In our annual research conducted in 2015 on the most open and secretive public institutions in Zambia, the Ministry of Gender and Child development emerged as the most secretive of the sampled public institutions in Zambia.

It is therefore no wonder that the country continues to suffer the effects of such high levels of misappropriation of funds every year.

We therefore challenge President Edgar Lungu to immediately consider the ATI bill for presentation to Parliament as a step towards instilling confidence in the citizenry.

May we also remind the government that ATI legislation will help make decentralisation a reality through the many benefits it presents, making the governance system truly democratic, participatory and accountable.

MISA Zambia will continue to advocate for the enactment of the ATI bill as promised by the PF government during and after the 2011 elections.

Hellen Mwale,

Chairperson-MISA Zambia

About MISA Zambia

The Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA) Zambia was founded in 1996. Its work focuses on promoting, and advocating for, the unhindered enjoyment of freedom of expression, access to information and a free, independent, diverse and pluralistic media.