WERDIT is also mobilizing communities to be actively involved in development as well as peace building and conflict resolution initiatives.
The organization’s Director, George Makoni said during an interview that community involvement in development as well as peace building initiatives is important adding that access to information helps to guide the communities while allowing them to engage from an informed point of view and thus allowing them to hold authorities to account.
Since the launch of the access to information campaign, WERDIT has engaged authorities that include the Environmental Management Agency (EMA), the local authority as well as other government departments.
Through information obtained from the various departments, WERDIT is seeking ways through which communities can collaborate in development process as well as forward their input for consideration by authorities.
Makoni said the initiative is part of efforts to ensure authorities comply with constitutional provisions on access to information.
“Through this programme, WERDIT with the support of the Media Institute of Southern Africa seeks to request information from public institutions. The requests are aimed at testing the new Freedom of Information Act. The Freedom of Information Act creates various offices and sets obligations on the shoulders of the State, which will need to be tested for their compliance with the Constitution,” said Makoni.
Makoni said that empowering communities to demand information from office bearers is critical in developmental processes.
According to Makoni, development requires informed and empowered communities.
“The government departments have a tendency of either ignoring requests for information by citizens or delaying till such a time the information is no longer useful. The new law on access to information stipulates that state institutions must respond within 21 days hence the test for the compliance with the law.
After the information requests, WERDIT will issue reports on access to information and through this project, Community Information Sharing Meetings which will bring together residents and relevant authorities will be conducted as a way of pushing for transparency and accountability on the part of the state,” said Makoni.
Post published in: Featured