Leader of a group of businesspersons who raised K5 million for First Lady Gertrude Mutharika’s Beautify Malawi (Beam) Trust to refund the grant to National Aids Commission (NAC), Bannet Chinsinga has urged the civil society organisations (CSOs) to cancel demonstrations planned for January 13, 2015 fearing the events could turn violent.
The CSOs have scheduled the peaceful protests to be held in the country’s cities to demand Mutharika’s Trust refund a K5 million it collected from NAC despite being a charity that primarily deals with environmental matters, not HIV and Aids affairs.
The First Lady has put her foot down that the money will not be refunded. And NAC board chairperson Kumbweza Banda said there is a process it follows when it wants money returned or refunded, saying that has not been the case with Beam.
Chinsinga told Nyasa Times in an interview on Christmas eve that 10 business person contributed K500, 000 each to raise K5 million so that Beam and refund the money to NAC to avert the planned demonstrations.
A 35 year old Chinsinga who owns chain of businesses said memories are still fresh of July 20, 2011 national demonstrations where thieves and looters took advantage of the situation and broke banks, retail shops, and destroyed a lot of businesses.
He said organizers should carefully review their position.
“We appeal to the organisers to cancel the demonstrations because businesses do fall apart and it will affect the country’s stability,” said Chinsinga.
The Beam well-wishers condemned the CSO’s for the planned demonstrations, saying they are harbouring “ill motives” and pointed at failure for similar outrage during Cashgate where about K23 billion was stolen under the Joyce Banda administration, according to an audit report by British firm Baker Tilly.
However, Centre for Human Rights and Rehabilitation (CHRR) executive director Timothy Mtambo, one of the CSOs pushing Beam to refund the money, said the process was a charade .
“The status quo remains the same. The demonstrations will go ahead. That money needs to be returned to NAC,” said Mtambo.
Beam Trust deputy board chairperson Collins Magalasi position remains that the money can never be returned.
Centre for the Development of People (CEDEP) executive Director Gift Trapence said the CSOs are calling for demonstrations following the numerous challenges that the country is going through.
“We have a NACGATE yes that is just a sub item, look we do not have a working judicial systems in this country this is the second month, we have water shortages, blackout on daily basis, economic challenges Malawians are going through, health systems are in problems,” he said.
On cashgate, Trapence said Malawians demonstrated by removing Joyce Banda through the ballot.
Meanwhile, Human Rights Consultative Committee (HRCC), chairperson Robert Mkwezalamba said they are keeping the K5 million and they will formally write NAC and Treasury on refunding it.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :