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HIGH COST FOR FREE INFORMATION? SIGNS THAT A DICTATOR IS IN THE MAKING

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Is Goodall now Badall Gondwe? How could he say this: ” Mr Speaker sir, don’t worry about it as it will only affect the poor. But in order to expand the tax base to generate resources for this budget, 10 % excise duty will be levied on text messaging and all data transfers including internet and similar services”

As a reminder let me start with what Information is all about; Where there is an information, there is enlightenment. Where there is a debate, there is a solution.

However, when there is no information, there is no rule of law to uphold a government accountable. What remains is subjugation and indignation.

Let me use simple English, where there is no information, abuse of power and corruption erupts.

As Malawians are waiting for the freedom of information bill to be passed, with others already giving up, the government of Malawi is busy trying to make the the bill useless by effecting a ten percent Levy excise duty on data transfers including Internet and similar services.

Slowly it is becoming a fact that the current administration is conducting business in a funny way but this one is not only funny but also not right as it is a calculated move towards closing windows to information.

AN ACT OF TYRANNY?

By the look of things the step the DPP led government has undertaken by not passing a freedom of information bill into a law and effecting a ten percent Levy excise duty on data transfers including Internet and similar services is an act of tyranny.

Nevertheless, because this is happening in a world where the laws of physics still prevail; An egg surely hatches into chicks. It is now time for Malawi to be going forward not backward as is the case currently or else we will suffer.

Malawians are arleady suffering: commodity prices are too high, there are no jobs and as a nation we lack good health care. However, access to information and communication through the internet made many especially the poor people in the voiceless feel like they could at last be counted as owners of the country that is Malawi.

For the rich people like Billionaire’s wife; Gertrude Muthalika, Joyce Banda and her family the only thing they will loose is ‘nothing’ but for the poor in the village, they will loose a voice. End result they will revert to depend on other people’s thinking.

In the bible, there is a privilege that Jesus gave himself “Behold, I stand at the door and knock if anyone hear my VOICE and opens the door i will come in and eat with him”.

The voice is a privilege to the poor who can not meet a member of parliament, the CEOs and the corrupt and non corrupt Judges of our judiciary system.

For one to know that the traitors are not in favour of the free flow of information through the Internet, organisations and companies are being discouraged by government to support online publications.

In the recent Misa awards government made sure that no online publication or reporters were included in the awards.

Unconfirmed reports indicate that advertisers are even being bought and guided on where they should advertise.

In Afriem’s opinion, for a long time now government has been fighting the free flow of information and communication using the Internet. Somewhere at the beginning a number of Malawian internet users logged on the internet in cafes when computers were a luxury for ordinary household, yet then the rich were accessing it easily.

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