In conversation with Viola Ochola
Every year, students at the Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria on the LLM/MPhil programme in Human Rights and Democratisation in Africa (HRDA) are assigned to human rights clinics which contribute to the work of the Centre’s research units and give the students practical experience and advance the Centre’s mission towards the realisation of human rights in Africa.
On 25 April 2023, the Centre for Human Rights’ Expression, Information and Digital Rights Unit (EIDR) hosted the Office of the Commission on Administrative Justice (Ombudsman) of the Republic of Kenya in its podcast series Africa Rights Talk commemorating 10 Years of the Model Law on Access to Information in Africa. The episode featured Ms. Viola Ochola as the guest speaker and Chrispin Bosire, Smith Naseri Edumebong and Idirashe Amanda Chikomba, from the EIDR clinic as moderators.
This episode focused on steps that have been taken towards effective implementation of the Kenyan access to information framework as guided by the Model Law on Access to Information for Africa framework developed in 2013 by the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights. This framework seeks to provide legislation guidance to member states of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ on the implementation of article 9 of the African Charter which provides for the right of access to information. Ms. Ochola indicated that Kenyan representatives actively participated in the deliberations that led to the development of the Model Law and subsequent to its adoption, there is reliance on the Model Law in the implementation of the Kenyan framework.
Ms. Ochola reiterated that the CAJ has also made strides in ensuring adequate access to information by introducing the 2022 Guidelines on Access to Information to ensure availability of information on elections to the citizens of Kenya in the 2022 elections and that the CAJ is undertaking advocacy measures and awareness raising exercises to ensure access to information to everyone including marginalised groups.
Ms. Viola Ochola is the Director of the Office of the Commission on Administrative Justice (CAJ). She is a lawyer, an advocate of the High Court of Kenya and a legal practitioner with administrative law, commercial law, human rights, and law reforms experience spanning over 15 years. She holds an MBA in Strategic Management and has extensive experience both in the public and private sector. She is the immediate former Manager in the Complaints, Investigation and Legal Services Department at the Commission on Administrative Justice. Ms. Ochola is an Open Governmental Leadership Fellow and a member of the Technical Committee on Open Government Partnership (Kenya Chapter) in her capacity as the Cluster Lead for the Access to Information Commitment.
The conversation was recorded on 25 April 2023.
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