By Locadia Mavhudzi
Gweru residents have called on the city health authorities to avail updates on the vaccination programme at local level to keep the society informed.
Gweru Residents Association Director Cornelia Selipiwe said unlike other cities and provinces, Midlands health authorities had not been giving updates.
Speaking during an online all stakeholders conference held recently, Selipiwe said the new Information Act empowered societies to demand critical information from public offices hence the need by residents to be informed.
“We are in a pandemic and we cannot rely on here say,” said Selipiwe.
“We only know about national statistics and those compiled from other provinces yet our own health authorities do not avail such information.
“How do we make progressive choices as residents if we are not empowered? We need to know at least on a weekly basis how Covid19 is faring in our communities.
“We appreciate the ongoing vaccination programme but it is more encouraging if we have facts and figures on the local vaccination uptake communities are able to make better choices if they interface with the realities on the ground.”
The Freedom of Information Act is a new law that repealed the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA).
The new legislation provides citizens and media practitioners the right to access information and also creates legal frameworks and mechanisms for accessing information from public and private bodies.
Section 62(1) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe provides for access to information held by State institutions when the information is required in the interests of public accountability whereas Section 62(2) provides for access to information held by any person, including the State, where that information is necessary for the exercise or protection of a right.
Women and girls’ rights organization, Tag a Life International (TaLI), recently launched the My Freedom of Information campaign to raise awareness on the Freedom of Information Act for vulnerable groups.