Inquiry reports to be made public

Sunday August 8 2010

Speaker Kenneth Marende receives the tribunal report on MPs remuneration from retired judge Akilano Akiwumi. The government is obliged, under the new Constitution, to make public any information that affects the country. Photo/FILE

Speaker Kenneth Marende receives the tribunal report on MPs remuneration from retired judge Akilano Akiwumi. The government is obliged, under the new Constitution, to make public any information that affects the country. Photo/FILE 

By NATION Correspondent

Kenyans will in future know the outcome of various inquiries whose reports have never been made public.

These include reports on the various economic scandals that have hit the country, especially the Goldenberg and Anglo Leasing scams.

Others are the reports on the Artur brothers and the death of Robert Ouko, the Akiwumi report on land clashes, the Kiliku report on ethnic clashes, and the Cockar report on the sale of the Grand Regency Hotel.

The government is obliged, under the new Constitution, to make public any information that affects the country.

The new law, in Article 35, grants Kenyans the right to access information held by the state or any other person and required for the exercise or protection of any right or fundamental freedom.

The clause will bring to an end the culture of withholding information, especially by the government, on matters of national importance.

A Freedom of Information Bill seeking to grant the public access to official information has never come up for debate despite having been drafted more than six years ago.

The new order will require the government to publish any information that is deemed important and affecting the country’s security and welfare.

Every person also has the right to the correction or deletion of untrue or misleading information that affects him or her.

Once implemented, the new law will have a huge impact on Kenya, enabling and empowering people to see what the government is doing, therefore making the government more responsive and accountable.

Article 33 of the new Constitution asserts the freedom of expression, including the right to seek, receive and impart information and ideas, the freedom of artistic creativity, academic freedom and the freedom of scientific research.

The new Constitution at Article 34 then specifically affirms media freedom.