Access to Information ATI = My Right.My Voice.
NOTE added in July 2016: This page was written before CAP joined the Civial Society organisation ACTION Nambia who has successfully compiled a Draft ACESS TO INFORMATION BILL for the Ministry if Information and Communication Technology of Namibia in July 2016. OUr main function will now be to support the ACTION Coaltion and educate Namibian Citizens through online ATI training initiatives.
1. What are we trying to achieve?
With knowledge gleaned from this online course I am starting a Citizen Engagement Group in Namibia called CAP (Citizen Action Project) Namibia. CAP Namibia will support any call for an ACCESS TO INFORMATION ACT in Namibia for this Online Course Assignment. The intention is to initiate an educational online project accessible to all citizens educating Namibians as to their Right to information.
Additional projects in the near future include: Domestic Violence Prevention, ICT’s in Education, Improved Voter Participation in local and regional elections, etc.
- Societal problems addressed: Since Namibia’s Independence on 21 March 1990, the country doesn’t have Access to Information through a Right to Information Act. Government decision-making is not transparent and citizens can not hold the government accountable on inefficiency in service provisions, rampant corruption and enrichment of a small New Political Elite.
- Objectives of Citizen Action Project Namibia: Pave the way togehter with other Civil Society Organisations aimed at the government directly supported by Citizen Right to Know awareness Campaigns in Namibia.
- Positive Change Envisioned: Access to information, improved service provision, less corruption and poverty alleviation, closing of wealth disparity gap.
2. Who are the key actors?
- CAP Namibia (Citizen Action Project Namibia) as key actor shall be registered as Civil Society Organisation in Namibia. This places the Pilot Project of the Right to Information (RTI) out of the realm of party politics into the domain of Namibia’s Citizens. The Right to Know is a basic human right and affects every single Namibian citizen, irrespective of any limiting party political affiliations. Placing such an important issue within “neutral grounds” provides the most compelling reason why CAP Namibia is best placed to initiate this RTI project.
- Target audience: Namibia Citizens in Regional Constituencies: Right to Know information Campaigns. Civil Society, NGO’s and Media Organisations for Policy Development and watchdog functions, Political Opposition Parties will be briefed and supported to deliver motions for a RTI Act in Cabinet.
- Participant recruitment: through my digital artefacts for this CE course:
- 1. Information Website: www.capnamibia.org,
- 2. Twitter account #capnamibia
- 3. Facebook Page – https://www.facebook.com/CAP-Namibia-Citizen-Action-Project-798430583613299/
- RTI Project Partners:
3. How does it work?
- Tool/s used to reach objectives:
- Formation of Social Movements such as CAP Namibia
- Accountability Frameworks
- Feedback Loop
- Social Media and ICT tools for Citizen awareness and government Response
- How will tools enable the RTI initiative?
1. Social Movements such as CAP Namibia: instrumental value in channelling citizen voice, engaging political parties, acting as counterweight of accountability.
2. Closing feedback Loop: reduce information asymmetries, improving development outcomes in Namibia in transparent two-way interaction between citizens and governments to giving citizens stake in decision-making.
This is key to the RIT Act and will:
- increase transparency and citizens trust in Governments
- enhance government legitimacy
- improve outcomes of macro-economic policies
- raise frequency and quality of government responsiveness
3. Social Media and ICT: The CAPNamibia Tools (in the form of digital artefacts) example: http://capnamibia.org/final-ce-project/
- How will your initiative actually work?
The Right to Information (RTI) initiative has 4 main Phases:
- Phase 1: Compiling of RTI Policy with all stakeholders
- Phase 2: Ensure that the RTI Act is tabled in Namibian Cabinet
- Phase 3: Citizen Surveys to ensure nationwide implementation
- Phase 4: Citizen Satisfaction Surveys, Focus Group interviews to gauge successes
- 4. What are the risks and opportunities?
- Challenges expected: Government may draft an Information Act behind doors to actually curtail Access to Information and pass it through Cabinet with their majority votes, resulting in more widespread corruption out of the public domain.
- Strategies to overcome them: Sustained Citizen Engagement and awareness drive and Information Campaigns to demonstrate beyond party political affiliation that the Right to Know and Free Access to Information is a basic human right and cornerstone of democracy.
- Maximising Opportunities: Participating with MISA, IPPR and other stakeholders workshop 9-10 March in Capital of Namibia. We need to ensure that itle of the proposed Act is Right to Information Act.
- In addition we need to:
- draft Act in language which makes it clear that the public have the right to access information and the government a duty to ensure they can obtain such access.
- acknowledge that it is the primary responsibility of the Government itself to ensure that all people have access to accurate and timely information about its policies, decision-making and public spending.