Understaffed and inaccessible Access to Information Commission needs help

Understaffing, lack of equipment, and mobility are some of the challenges affecting the work of the Access to Information Commission, an official has said.

Moyiga Nduru who heads the information body said they are unable to execute their mandate due to lack of proper infrastructure and human resource.

“We don’t have enough staffs to implement the mandate of the commission. We need mobility, and thirdly, we need functioning internet so that we can reach everybody…we are not online,” he stated.

Mr. Moyiga also mentioned that the commission lacks facilities such as library and computer laboratory to store important files for public use.

He made the revelations during the panel discussion in Juba on the International Day for Universal Access to Information on Tuesday.

The Commission is said to have only 3 staffs.

“The rest are supporting staffs, cleaners and drivers. We are now engaging the Ministry of Information and the government so that we start recruiting,” Mr. Moyiga disclosed.

Ayaa Irene, the Chairperson of the Female Journalists’ Network urged the government to support the commission to avail information for public good.

“All the government institutions are supposed to have their unclassified information available online, but even the commission itself does not have a functional website where information can be available.”

Betty Sunday, the Executive Director of Women Action for and with Society emphasized on the right to access to information as enshrined in the constitution.

“Having access to information is a fundamental human right, building the nation, communities and citizens knowing what their government is doing,” she underscored.

She called on the civil society, journalists and the commission to collectively advocate for the funding of the commission to execute its mandate.

Two weeks ago, the Minister of Information, Michael Makuei directed all government agencies to establish information units to promote the right of access to information.

He said the units will act as mini-archives for documenting and storing relevant information for public consumption.