2 December 2017, the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) presented the findings on Access to Information in Namibia. Freedom of speech is a basic human right for all Namibians, but with that comes the right to access to information.
The two go hand in hand as people must have the opportunity to acquire accurate information concerning decisions affecting their well-being and that of their children. In that spirit, the IPPR contacted 105 organisations, preferring to adopt the identity of an ordinary Namibian citizen as opposed to the IPPR itself, in order to find out how likely these bodies were to provide none-confidential information to the ordinary Namibian citizen. Institutes included government ministries, public enterprises, private companies and civil society organisations.
The findings provided unsurprisingly unsavoury results with 80% of all the organisations unresponsivie or unable to provide the requested information. Approximately 60% of organisations simply did not respond to any advances from the IPPR. Around 85% of Public Enterprises proved unresponsive, while 75% of government departments also did not respond to any advances from the researchers. This particularly worrying considering the governements continues efforts to improve governance, accountability and transparency.
The private sector also proved rather unavailable with almost 80% of private companies unresponsive or the information not being available. Perhaps most surprisingly was the 60% of Civil Society Organisations (CSO) that proved unresponsive requests for information. The data suggests that there may be a culture of secrecy within the different industries in Namibia, and with that a void lacking of communication and trust between such organisations and the people.