Posted September 28, 2020 9:29 am by

The culture of secrecy and routine administrative codes in public bodies still stands in the way of Kenyans right to information thus frustrating their access to services. It’s not interesting that bodies funded by Kenyans and expected to facilitate access to services have failed to act as custodians of the public good. Additional challenges for access to information in Kenya include poor management of information by public bodies, poor public administration and inefficiencies, and gross violation of human rights by duty bearers.

As required by law, information held by public bodies must be accessible to members of the public in the absence of an overriding public interest in secrecy. The law provides exceptions to information sharing and encourages pro-active disclosure of the same to enable citizens to engage with its leadership and participate in national issues. A country that commits to its aspirations to become a knowledge society, cannot continue to practice selective sharing of basic information to its citizens as a public good. A country keen on attracting direct foreign investment, job creation, improve on accountability, fight corruption and entrench democracy, should take sharing of information as the first step towards such and embrace information sharing as a best practice.

That even after several years of seeing the benefits of sharing information with citizens globally, and article 35 of the Constitution, the Access to Information Act 2016 and a horse of regulatory provisions on public participation in governance, Kenyans are still struggling to access information held by public bodies, merely because of office culture by public officers, who continue to display impunity and arrogance to Kenyans.

While for many years countries across the globe failed to enact the right to information laws because they had been packaged purely as anti-corruption laws that will be used to expose corruption in public bodies, increasingly, this thinking has been found wrong as the benefits of access to information to citizens outweighs this narrow presentation.

For the public to engage with their leaders and assess the performance and delivery of services, they must access information about the state of the economy, human rights, foreign relations, budgets, among other national issues. This is the only way to assure health informed national conversation on important matters of the nation. It’s even more important for the journalists so that they can write objective, in-depth and informative stories of public interest. As already indicated, a functional right to information framework Read More…Respect for right to information key to marketing Kenya  Respect for right to information key to marketing Kenya  Respect for right to information key to marketing Kenya  Respect for right to information key to marketing Kenya