THE former Minister of Information and Communication Technology, Tjekero Tweya, has heavily criticised the findings of IPPR’s Access Denied: Access to Information in Namibia, calling it “malicious and misleading”.

Minister Tweya, who has since been transferred from the Ministry of ICT by President Hage Geingob, was speaking to a group of journalists at a press conference this week. He noted that the publication lacks truth and was therefore misleading. “We feel that it was done to deliberately suit their malicious agenda,” he claimed.

Tweya’s criticism was mainly centered around the report’s research findings that government departments were found to be withholding public information.

Although the study investigated various sectors such as the public and private sectors as well as civil society organizations, Tweya could only speak for Government.

The Minister noted that after carrying out a fact-finding exercise to ascertain the findings of the report, he found that the report was based on unfounded allegations due to the techniques used by IPPR in compiling the report.

He also added that IPPR could not provide a list of names of the officials contacted during data collection as requested by his office, which according to him, made it hard to for the ministry of ICT to follow up.

In his lengthy commentary, Tweya tried to justify his position saying that some Ministries and agencies said that they did not receive the information requests from IPPR, while others could not respond to IPPR’s query because requests were either sent to the wrong offices or IPPR could not indicate why the information was needed.

He however urged Government officials entrusted with the responsibility of making information accessible, to continue providing the public access to information or make themselves guilty of withholding vital public information.

Tweya noted that the MICT is the main custodian of Government information, while adding that Public Relations Officers in Government are entrusted with the responsibility of making information available to the public.

The IPPR have rebutted his criticisms and Action Namibia has also released a statement condemning the Minister’s attack on IPPR. See full statement here.