Tag Archives: right to information

Ten key features of a good Freedom of Information law for Tanzania

Late last year, President Kikwete announced that his government will pass a Freedom of Information Act:

“We are now working on enacting a freedom of information law. We are working on that one, we think by April next year, we will send to parliament this bill, and have it enacted. It is giving the common Tanzanian citizen the right to have information from government.”

“We are talking of the people, the government becoming more open, people having greater access to information, and when they ask for this information, they should not be seen as venturing into territories that are not theirs. … If people want information on how medicines are distributed, if they want information about budgets for their primary
school, then they should have the right to know this.”

Tz map flag FOIThe timetable has slipped, but the proposed bill is prominent in the new action plan for the Open
Government Partnership. And according to the Minister of Constitutional Affairs, Dr Asha-Rose Migiro, progress is being made on a draft law.

As so often, however, the devil is in the detail. Freedom of Information can be very powerful, but until we see what the new law looks like, it is impossible to know whether it will deliver on its potential, or will end up as a missed opportunity.

So, what does a good Freedom of Information law look like? Continue reading

Freedom of Information on DFID’s role in BAE Project in Tanzania? Bado

image from http://www.parentalguide.org/article-family-road-trip.html

image from http://www.parentalguide.org/article-family-road-trip.html

I submitted a Freedom of Information request with the Department for International Development (DFID) last month. I’m asking for the Memorandum of Understanding between DFID, the Government of Tanzania, the Serious Fraud Office and BAE Systems, and related budget details. (See here and here for some background).

The government legally has to respond within 20 days – the deadline is tomorrow.  Continue reading

The real story of “open” – Guest Post from Nikhil Dey

I an honoured to be able to use this blog to host a guest post from Nikhil Dey of MKSS, an Indian right to information group. It follows the Open Government Partnership (OGP) Summit in London, at which Nikhil and his colleagues made a great impression, both on me personally and on the summit as a whole. He and Aruna Roy, also of MKSS, share a seat on the OGP Steering Committee

The real story of “open”

There were many things from the London Summit that stand out for us, but here is one that will give you a delightful surprise about the mysterious ways in which the OGP story has spread. More than that, it will give you an idea of the good things of London, of why cab drivers have such a good reputation, and of the humanity and goodness of the ordinary citizen of the world.

Three of us (Kamayani, Shankar, and I) had pre-booked a cab for the airport on a taxi service that takes bookings for cheap taxis in London. We boarded at our hotel, and left by a route where our cab driver informed us we would not get caught in a protest march being undertaken by the Tamil Tigers. After we introduced ourselves to him, the driver told us that his name was Amani, and that he was from Tanzania. Continue reading

Right to Information in Tanzania: now the real work begins

President Kikwete made a bold promise last week, to enact a law that obliges the Tanzanian government to provide any information requested by citizens, with the exception of information relating to national security. You can see this for yourself, in this YouTube video posted by the President’s press office (the key section starts at 8mins 40 seconds):

Continue reading

Open government in Tanzania – what are the priorities?

The recent news that the Tanzanian government has committed to joining the Open Government Partnership is a positive move by the government. It deserves civil society and media support. The specific commitment – to prepare an Action Plan on open government by March 2012 – is challenging, but achievable if work starts now.

This has got me thinking. What actions could the government take that would have a positive impact on open government immediately? I’ve come up with some options, and would love to know what you think. Continue reading