Mulhako wa Alhomwe, a cultural grouping which counts President Peter Mutharika among its members, has taken a similar stand by First Lady Gertrude Mutharika’s Beautify Malawi (Beam) Trust that it will not refund the National Aids Commission (NAC) grant even in the wake of threats of mass protests.
The civil society organisations (CSOs) have been demaning refund from Mulkhao wa Alhomwe and Beam following revelations that they received money from NAC for activities that had no HIV and Aids affairs.
CSOs have been demanding that the two organisations refund the money or they will hold nationwide demonstrations on January 13 2015 to push for the same.
But Mulhako board chairperson Bright Mangulama told a news conference that they will not the money over K50 million.
“We do not owe anybody, any money. As what we received from NAC are services and not cash,” explained Mangulama.
“NAC provided transport, food and accommodation services for traditional leaders that we mobilised from Lhomwe belt and beyond,” said Mangulama.
“These traditional leaders attended different HIV/Aids sessions that NAC conducted during the festival,” he added.
Mangulama, with other board members of the cultural grouping including Muchanakhwaye Mpuluka and Edward Sawerengela insisted that the money can never be returned.
Centre for Human Rights and Rehabilitation (CHRR) executive director Timothy Mtambo, one of the CSOs pushing Mulhakho and Beam to refund the money, said the demonstrations will go ahead on January 13, 2015.
Critics of the planned demonstrations have accused the protest leaders of political motivation 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.
Recently, Council for Non-Governnmental Organisations in Malawi (Congoma) vice-chairperson Maxwell Matewere and Malawi Interfaith Aids Association (MIAA) executive director Robert Ngaiyaye defended NAC on the matter, but the CSOs say their NGO fraternity colleagues are blinded by cheap partisan interests.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :