In addition to Section 62 of the Constitution, the Model law on Access to Information for Africa produced
by the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (hereinafter the Model Law), provides
local and regional standards and best practice on a democratic access to information legislation. The
Constitution and the Model Law will therefore, be used as the standard measurement and comparison tools
in considering the strengths and weaknesses of the Bill.

3. Existing Laws
AIPPA is patently unconstitutional. AIPPA is generally associated with the Zimbabwe government’s
closing of media space and punitive regulation of that space. In addition to AIPPA, there are several laws
that are relevant to ATI that are sectoral such as for statutory institutions, parastatals, or local authorities
that are repeatedly used to deny such information.
This existing legislation on access to information has proven insufficient, and the administrative
mechanisms for enabling this right generally unresponsive. Court decisions have in the past interpreted this
right narrowly, depriving the public easy access to information.1
Further, clarification is required in terms of implementation of legislation such as the Official Secrets Act,
which though clear in its framing, has potential to be used to deny information requests. Section 4(1) (a) of
the Official Secrets Act states:
For the avoidance of doubt, it is declared that subsection (1) shall not apply to the disclosure in accordance
with the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act [Chapter 10:27] of any document or information
by a person who, being the head of a public body as defined in that Act, has lawful access to the document
or information2 .

Despite its title, AIPPA has several clawback provisions that restrict access to information. Ideally, any
replacement ATI law must deal with these clawback provisions some of which are outlined below. The first
major issue with AIPPA is that it restricts the right to access information to information that is under the
control of public bodies.3 This means that individuals cannot rely on AIPPA to compel a private body to
provide access to information. However, experiences under AIPPA also demonstrated that even information


See for instance Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights and The Legal Resources Foundation versus The President
of the Republic of Zimbabwe and the Attorney-General, SC 12/03, Matabeleland Zambezi Water Trust versus
Zimbabwe Newspapers (1980) Limited and The Editor of The Chronicle, SC3/03,
Section 3(2) if any other law relating to access to information, protection of privacy and the mass media is in
conflict or inconsistent with this Act, this Act shall prevail. 3 Access to Information and Protection of Privacy
Act, Section 5(1)


Select target paragraph3