Transparency International Zambia (TIZ) says the enactment of the Access to Information Bill is none negotiable.
TIZ Executive Director Goodwell Lungu has since called upon President Edgar Lungu not to make a u-turn on the subject but grant the people who elected him into office their wishes.
Mr Lungu in a statement says TIZ strongly believes that Access to Information is important for citizens’ empowerment and that exercising this right enables citizens to keep their governments and public bodies accountable hence hindering corrupt practices from taking effect.
He says President Lungu should note that deprivation of information severely limits an individual’s ability to participate in governance and to influence the circumstances which have an impact on local communities.
He adds that President Lungu should be made aware that when citizens are denied their right to know, and when the media cannot report facts due to government control or censorship, this right is further harmed and corrupt officials can act with impunity.
Mr Lungu states that TIZ believes that information in control of public authorities is valuable public resource and that public access to such information promotes greater transparency and accountability of those public authorities, and that this information is essential to the democratic process and the development process o the country.
He says this more so that officials in government would be deterred from engaging in illicit behavior that affects development as they would know that the chances of citizens knowing about their conduct through access to information would be high.