Description of Assessment Criteria
The total number of points allocated to categories 1 and 2 is 20
points (n = 20) each. Points are awarded based on the researcher’s
answer: Yes (2 points); Partial (1 point); No (0 points). Government
ministries and institutions fell into one of the following groups in
accordance with the number of points that they received.
Category 1: Website Analysis
Group 1: (0 – 6) Absence of a website or an extremely poor
website containing no or almost no relevant public information.
Group 2: (7 – 13) Average website containing some relevant
public information.
Group 3: (14 – 20) Well organised, transparent website
providing a good amount of relevant public information.
Category 2: Written Request/Oral Request
Group 1: (0 – 6) Denied access to reasonable information
request or acted with high levels of secrecy.
Group 2: (7 – 13) Displayed an average level of openness in
allowing access to public information.
Group 3: (14 – 20) Displayed openness in allowing access to
public information. Institution was helpful and transparent.
Challenges and limitations of the research
Most organisations asked for the researcher’s occupation or
which organisation they were coming from. The researcher’s assessment was that government and public institutions respond
quicker to organisations rather than to an individual.

Category 1: Website Analysis
All eight institutions selected for this research have websites,
some good and some with very little information, as you will see
from the tables below. It is encouraging, however, to see that
most government and public institutions have an online presence
as a tool for disseminating information to the public.
Of these, the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) has quite a
dynamic and informative website with very recent information. It
also has an online social media presence, which is appealing to
young people.
All other public institution websites are adequate, despite the
fact that they are not being frequently updated. The Lusaka City
Council (LCC), although they have an online presence, still have
some pages under construction. However, LCC are one of two
public institutions that have a designated contact person for the
information required.

Category 2: Request for Written and Oral
Of the eight institutions written to, the Lusaka City Council (LCC)
and the Citizens Economic Empowerment Commission (CEEC)
responded verbally on the tenth day. The LCC’s Public Relations
Officer, Mulunda Habeenzu, provided the answers to a written
request for information and advised that he could not answer
the question regarding waste management, and directed the researcher to the responsible unit. The researcher subsequently visited the waste management system and was also provided with
answers by a courteous Ms Idah Shaputu, who added that if the
researcher needed any more information on waste management,
they should not hesitate to call back. The researcher was given all
the necessary information regarding garbage collection in accordance with the request for information, and was provided with
contact details for the person responsible for garbage collection
in area requested.
Although the CEEC could not trace the letter of request sent to
them on 9 June 2014, the answers to the request were provided
telephonically by Mr D. Kambilo.
The other six institutions did not respond to the request, suggesting that most public institutions are secretive and are not
responding to individual citizens’ requests unless they can demonstrate that they are asking on behalf of an organisation.
In a democracy like Zambia, access by the general public to information held by public institutions and government is crucial,
as this holds government accountable for how they are spending
taxpayers’ money.
The Electoral Commission of Zambia acknowledged the researcher’s request in less than seven days via email, but still did not
provide the requested information. The Zambia Revenue Authority asked for an electronic copy of the request for information,
which was duly sent, but this was neither responded to nor acknowledged.
The general response to requests illustrates why an ATI Bill must
be enacted, as this would make it easier for citizens to verify information about their public facilities.
Best practice and standards must be exhibited by these institutions and public institutions must be required to respond to all
requests, whether the request came from an individual or an organisation, within a reasonable time.

None of the eight public institutions outline or disclose their budgets on their websites. The provision of reports, programs, and
signed contracts on websites varies between institutions.
Although all of the institutions did provide contact details and
addresses only two institutions, the LCC and the CEEC, have contact details for designated public officers.


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