A year ago today, hundreds of public and private organisations in Rwanda should have proactively published a large amount of information online about how they are funded, who they employ, who subsidises their activities and how people can contact them to request more information.
But very few have done so.
The proactive publication of this information was legally mandated in the ministerial orders published in Gazette No 2 of 13/01/2014 and signed by the Minister of Local Government and the Minister of Justice. These ministerial orders clarified aspects of the implementation of Rwanda’s 2013 access to information law.
Article two of Ministerial Order No 006/07.01.13 of 19/12/2013 determining in details the information to be disclosed gave all public and private organs six months to publish the 13 types of information listed in article three of the same order.
These information types included “the budget allocated to each department of the organ”, “the procedure followed managing organs in the decision making process” and “particulars of concessions, permits or authorizations granted by the organ”.
Team Sobanukirwa realise that many public and private organisations have failed to publish this information due to a lack of awareness about the access to information law and the ministerial orders.
This is precisely why we set up the Sobanukirwa website in order to further awareness of these laws in Rwanda.
Sobanukirwa publishes any information requests for all to see and making it very easy for citizens to submit new information requests. We have also met with many interested parties to explain to them what the access to information law says and how their organisations can make use of the law.
Since launching in February 2015, more than 10,000 people have used the Sobanukirwa website and 39 information requests have been publicly submitted via Sobanukirwa. So far six of these requests have been successful revealing information about data laws, health care locations and genocide denial court cases in Rwanda.
This demonstrates how useful improved access to information can be to help people in Rwanda learn more about how organisations work, get data on issues that they care about and discover more about how the country is run.
We call upon all public and private organisations in Rwanda to adhere to the law set out in the access to information ministerial orders and proactively publish all required information to help citizens learn more about their work in the country.