Mozambican Groups Urge Parliament to Take Up RTI

5 October 2012

Mozambican civil society organizations have again asked parliament to debate on a freedom of information bill.

The Mozambican chapter the Media Institute of Southern Africa and other groups sent a letter to Assembly chairperson Veroniva Macamo saying a FOI act “will allow the state to bring the voice of the people into development processes, opening the paths to ensure that all vital forces in society, and particularly vulnerable groups, have a word to say.”

Information, the letter adds, “is necessary to ensure the long term sustainability of projects and programmes”, and the legal vacuum on the right to information “has prejudiced full exercise of this right by citizens,” according to news report by the Mozambique News Agency. The situation is becoming “a serious obstacle to the credibility of the state and to achieving the other fundamental rights and freedoms that are connected to the right to information,” the letter says.

Without FOI legislation, “citizens, particularly those living a long distance from the urban centres, have not taken part in development and governance processes,” according to the groups.

A bill drafted by MISA was given to the Assembly in November 2005.

According to the article:

The problem has always been to lobby a sufficient number of parliamentary deputies to ensure that they sponsor the bill and put it on the parliamentary agenda. Seven years have passed, and neither the ruling Frelimo Party nor the main opposition party, the former rebel movement, Renamo, have made any attempt to table the MISA bill.

The next session of the Assembly is scheduled to begin on 22 October. It remains to be seen whether this time freedom of information finds its way onto the agenda.

(See previous reports on Mozambigue.)

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