Lawyer calls for repeal of Aippa

The Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act (Aippa) contravenes Zimbabwe's new constitution and must be repealed, a Mutare-based legal practitioner and member of the Misa-Zimbabwe Media Lawyers Network has said.


Speaking on Wednesday at the launch of the Sakubva information kiosk in Mutare–the newest that follows similar Misa projects in Gweru, Gwanda, Kariba and Masvingo–David Tandire said Aippa violated citizens' right to access to information.

A Misa communiqué released on Thursday quoted Tandire as saying:

"AIPPA runs afoul of the provisions of the new constitution and should be struck down. Most of its provisions are in breach of the new constitution. New legislation should be enacted to give effect to this right (to access to information)."

Section 62 (4) of the new constitution adopted last year stipulates that laws must recognise people's right to information, with restrictions permissible only to protect defence, public security or professional confidentiality.

However, Aippa has been criticised for imposing limits on the right to receive and share information, particularly through statutory media regulation.

Tandire called on the media to promote good governance and public accountability through information dissemination.

Aippa was enacted in January 2002, ahead of the March presidential election the same year and is seen as the brainchild of Jonathan Moyo, who last year bounced back as the information minister.

Media owners, journalists, politicians and other government critics have been calling for media reform that includes a repeal of or drastic amendments to Aippa.

The Misa-Zimbabwe Director, Director Nhlanhla Ngwenya, during the official opening of the kiosk at which the Mutare City Deputy Mayor , Collin Mukwada, was present, said information booths were meant to boost access to information among low income communities which could not afford to buy newspapers.

He thanked the municipality of Mutare for providing space for the kiosk at Sakubva Library.

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