Mr Speaker, thisprovision is in the supreme interest ofthe applicant. Knowing our environmentvery well and how bureaucratic tendenciestend to delay everything, the clause isintended to protect the applicant in thesense that when he submits anapplication, he would not be denied theaccess, simply on grounds that they donot have it. So, it is intended for the informationofficer, when the application issubmitted, to make enquiries, find outwhere the information is being held,transfer the application to that institutionand inform the applicant. Mr Speaker, the other reason is that, itis intended that when an application issubmitted, time begins to run. This is so,so that you do not submit an applicationand your application would take 90 daysto be looked at, no! So, if you do nothave the information and do not knowwhere you can get it, in other subsequentprovisions, there are provisions on whatto do. But where you think that you can assistthe person who had come from Dzelukopeto access the information, you assist theperson and then within 15 days, theapplication may be transferred.
I might concede to change “shall” to“may” but I believe that the intention ofthe clause is to assist the applicant, sothat we may not put the applicant througha lot of tossing here and there and “goand come, we do not have it” . That isthe idea.
Baba Jamal M. Ahmed: Mr Speaker, ifsomebody wants information, he mustknow where to go and what type ofinformation he wants. If you concentrateeverything on the information officer, youare going to overwhelm him and he is notgoing to be effective. Mr Speaker, so, if a person wantsinformation, he or she must know wherethey want the information from. If, forinstance, I want information oncommunication, where should I go to,maybe, the Ministry of Power? Whyshould I go to the Ministry of WaterResources, Works and Housing if I wantinformation on labour? Mr Speaker, so, I think that clausemust be looked at. If the informationofficer is applied to and he has it, heshould give it. He cannot give what hedoes not have. So, if one wantsinformation and the officer does not haveit and he/she says so, the applicant wouldgo to where he would have it. The officercan advise the applicant to look at anotherplace. But we should not burden him. He canadvise the person to go to another place,but not burden him with the responsibilityto go and look for the information for theperson. Otherwise, everybody woulddecide to go for the information becausethey know that even if they do not doanything, the person is compelled by lawto go and look for it for them.
Mr Speaker, we should just limit it towhat he has. He can advise the applicantto go to another point to look for it if hedoes not have it.