Malawi gov’t should declare ‘crisis’ over donor cut- CHRR, Cedep

The Centre for Human Rights and Rehabilitation (CHRR) and Centre for the Development of People (Cedep) have said the Joyce Banda administration must swallow its pride by acknowledging that Malawi is in a crisis that requires a concerted effort from all stakeholders.

The two organisations said in a joint media statement signed by CHRR acting executive director Timothy Mtambo and Cedep executive director Gift Trapence.

The two organisations said the aid suspension will undermine the already fragile public service delivery as donors fund 40 percent of the country’s overall budget and 80 percent of its development budget.

“Our distress at the news is largely reminiscent of the dire economic repercussions that befell a majority of poor Malawians when the donors and other development partners took a similar stance in the twilight of the late President Bingu wa Mutharika regime,” reads the statement.

Mtambo: We saw it coming

The donors’ decision, announced by the Common Approach to Budgetary Support (Cabs), means Malawi will not access K60 billion in aid in the October-December quarter.

“We saw it coming, especially when considering the recent developments that have characterised the public arena since the shooting of government’s budget director Paul Mphwiyo. For no doubt, a government that operates on mismanaged financial system exacerbated by plunder of public resources, and oiled by superficial damage control measures deserves nothing short of what the Cabs Group have done to Malawi.

“From the very onset of the cash-gate saga, the current regime has not helped matters either in as far as addressing the crisis at hand. Instead of demonstrating complete political will towards ensuring that justice prevails on the matter by amongst other things acknowledging that there is a crisis, President Joyce Banda and her party zealots have gone flat out in their propaganda-tailored campaigns on the matter,” reads the statement.

The two organisations accused President Banda of shielding prominent people in her government who may have had a hand in the plunder of government resources.

They said instead of sacking and arresting high-profile individuals at institutions such as Treasury, the Ministry of Finance, the Accountant General and the Reserve Bank of Malawi, government has concentrated on people in low positions in the public service.

CHRR and Cedep said government should also start walking the talk on the principle of austerity underpinning the Economic Recovery Plan (EPR) and the current fiscal year by ensuring that the President cuts back on costly foreign and local travel.

“Thirdly, the President and senior government officials must start championing accountability and transparency. To this end, Malawians deserve to know how, within a short period of time, PP has become the richest party in the country, with a fleet of vehicles bought for fun. What is the source of all these resources?

“Fourthly, the President, as a bonafide citizen of this country, must collaborate with the Malawi Police Service by amongst other things rendering relevant information pertaining to the shooting of Budget Director Paul Mphwiyo.

“The President is on record to have publicly said to have some knowledge of the attempted assailant (s) to the shooting of Mr Mphwiyo. Almost one month and weeks have passed but there is no clear evidence that the President has done such a human right and constitutional obligation,” adds the statement.

There was no immediate reaction from government.

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