bleak across Africa. Though the various constitutions make provisions forprotection of fundamental human rights, including privacy, all the statutespredated the new challenge posed by the mobile communication instrument.While the legal ground rules remain unclear about how to marry securityneeds with human rights, another vital issue gives weapons to fears thatinfraction on rights may continue: the absence of freedom of informationact, which seeks to open up government to the citizenry, abolish secrecy inthe running of government business and endue the people with trust in theirgovernment. Of all 16 countries in West Africa, only one – South Africa,Zimbabwe, Uganda, and Liberia – have passed and signed into law this all-important piece of legislation, becoming operative in these countries in2000, 2002, 2006, and 2010 respectively.
The rest have been dillydallying over the issue. Since 1999 whendemocracy returned to Nigeria, the media and civil society groups haveliterally been on the war path with the ruling class who cringes that allowingsuch a law to see the light of the day will strip will invite chaos and exposenational security. In effect, what this means is that it is only one country –
While several countries of the world have added this important legislation to theirstatute books, Africa lags behind, watering the impression that the continent prefersshadiness as opposed to transparency; seehttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Freedom_of_information_legislation