NA passed the access to information bill

Martin Endjala

A brain child of Deputy Minister of Information, Technology and Communication Emma Teofelus has today seen the light at the end of the tunnel, as the National Assembly passed the Access to Information Bill with amendments.

The bill aims to promote the public’s free access to information held by public entities, and to compel public and private entities to proactively and promptly make information available. The bill was tabled in June 2020.

The MICT Minister Peya Mushelenga said that the passing of the bill demonstrates good governance, accountability and transparency which are all elements of democracy. The bill was a breakthrough of the Deputy Minister when she came to parliament seeing the need of access to information as a very important element to many schools and society at large.

It also aims to breach the gap between urban and rural areas in the country, ensuring that all Namibians have access to relevant information.

Speaking to Windhoek Observer the Landless People’s Movement (LPM) Youth Leader Duminga Ndala said that it is a very welcoming move by the National Assembly, stating that it is a very progressive bill which will now allow the public to have access to information that they have not been able to obtain. She further opined that this is an unprecedented approach by the country and it is first of its kind in the country, which shows how eager the government is moving Namibia into a culture of accessibility to information.

Furthermore, she highlighted the struggles researchers have been facing to obtain relevant information for better decision making and for readiness of unforeseen events. The bill when signed into law will provide an opportunity to bring an end to people who were unable to obtain relevant information, while cautioning that the information obtained, must be utilized in a manner that is conducive and uplifting for the betterment of society and as a country at large. The bill will now be referred to the Head of State for signing.

The metrology bill was also passed with amendments, despite MPs from the Popular Democratic Movement (PDM) objecting to a particular section in the bill, that grants the CEO power to fire the metrology director for incompetence.

By Observer