I am happy the Access to Information Bill 2015 was published on 30th June 2015, Kenya Gazette Supplement No. 94 (National Assembly Bills No. 36). The Bill obligates and requires the Government to release information to the Citizens in line with Article 35 of the Constitution of Kenya. The Constitution is a bit of let there be light provisions… Art 35 says let there be access to information… who will give the information, how will the information, what information is not accessible, what happens when one want to request for information, what happens where information is denied or destroyed, the penalties, who enforces the law, all these questions are answered through an Act of Parliament on Access to Information.
This law has been prioritized by Govt. In the first President Uhuru speech in 2013 to the joint session of Parliament this law was included in the Government’s legislative agenda. I worked a lot as a freedom of information advocate in Kenya, Africa and even internationally… I remember I helped in the Rwandan process of coming up with a similar law. Kents is a leading democracy in Africa. We need this law. Information is oxygen and sunshine. I am committed to following this law to passage and do thank the Energy and Communications Committee for allowing the Bill to proceed through a private member.
For me as an individual I have seen the disconnect between Govt Programmes and the people intended to benefit from the programme. In my family we had not heard of Higher Education Loans Board and was worried how I would study at the University. Many students from needy families do not know of education support initiatives, many don’t know of NHIF and say it’s for those employed, many don’t know of ARVS in managing HIV… Citizens need information from Government to take charge of their lives. Many do not know what funds are covered in our budgets… The Standard article here has more details.
I am happy the Access to Information Bill 2015 was published on 30th June 2015, Kenya Gazette Supplement No. 94 (National Assembly Bills No. 36).