Nasha lambasts Khama over Freedom of Information Bill

Nasha is unimpressed with the President's actions PIC: KAGISO ONKATSWITSE
Nasha is unimpressed with the President's actions PIC: KAGISO ONKATSWITSE

Former Speaker of the National Assembly, Margaret Nasha, has blasted President Ian Khama for failing to act on the Freedom of Information Bill despite the crucial legislation having been brought to Parliament four years ago.

Addressing the 20th anniversary of the Media Institute of Southern African (MISA) Botswana gala dinner over the weekend, Nasha said Khama had made promises to the nation regarding the Bill but nothing concrete had yet emerged.

“The President told the nation in his 2014 State of the Nation address that his government was in the process of preparing what they call Protection of Data Bill, after which they would publish their own version of the Bill but four years later no mention of either of the two bills,” she said.

She explained that this was despite the fact that the original Bill proposed by former legislator and Botswana Congress Party leader, Dumelang Saleshando, had detailed clauses excluding the publication of information that could put the security of the state at risk. “We know that the minister responsible promised Parliament on several occasions that he was going to take that Bill to Parliament but so far he has not kept his promise together with the President,” Nasha said.

“Nako kgolo ke eno, jaanong se lo tshwanetseng go se itse betsho ke gore mmatla kgwana yabo ga a ile go swa lentswe (You have long promised. If you want something, you should go for it),” she said.

Nasha commended MISA Botswana for continuously pushing and putting pressure for the introduction of the Freedom of Information Bill and also engaging MPs and civil society on the importance of the legislation to Botswana’s democracy.

On the Media Practitioners Act, Nasha said it was high time the act is amended to avoid a situation where all powers of appointment of executive members of the media council, their dismissal, appointment of an interim committee and that of the appeals committee lie in the hands of one person. “MISA’s contention is that the act be reviewed to avoid a situation where one person is judge, prosecutor, jury and prison warden at the same time,” she said.

Editor's Comment
What about employees in private sector?

How can this be achieved when there already is little care about the working conditions of those within the private sector employ?For a long time, private sector employees have been neglected by their employers, not because they cannot do better to care for them, but because they take advantage of government's laxity when it comes to protecting and advocating for public sector employees, giving the cue to employers within the private sector...

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