NACGATE reflects badly on Mutharika, says University of Malawi political scientist

University of Malawi political scientist Dr. Michael Jana has said that the recent infamous ‘NACGATE’ saga on the  missallocation of charitable funding by the National Aids Commission (NAC), does not reflect well on President Peter Mutharika.

Jana: Nacgate does not reflect well on our President

Jana: Nacgate does not reflect well on our President

On Tuesday civil society organisation petitioned government that local groups that accepted portions of an NAC grant estimated at $100,000 — Beautify Malawi (Beam), which belongs to first lady Gertrude Mutharika; Mulhako wa alhomwe, a cultural group— are not linked to AIDS activities.

All the groups have refused to refund the money, saying they did not force the NAC to give it to them. But rights groups are calling funds a handout to organizations closely aligned with the country’s ruling party leadership.

In an interview published in The Nation daily newspaper,  Jana said public perception was crucial in recognizing authority or despising it, and that in his views, the NACGATE saga does not reflect well on the President.

“Unfortunately, I do not think this whole saga reflects well on the President. You know, public perception is crucial in recognizing authority or despising it. That is why the perception that the President is abusing his power will linger on if NAC and concerned public figures do not take concrete steps to convince the civil society that the President and/or his cronies did not use their political influence to siphon money from NAC, but followed procedures in line with NAC mandate,” said Jana who is based at Chancellor College in Zomba.

Jana was responding to The Nation’s Ephraim Nyondo’s question: “President Peter Mutharika is connected to BEAM through marriage and to Mulhakho through tribal lineage: Is this conflict reflecting anything on him?”

Reacting to the unfolding drama that had characterized the country surrounding NACGATE with accusations and counter-accusations between the parties involved, the University of Malawi don says he did not necessarily see conflict in a negative way in the whole saga.

“Well, I am not necessarily reading conflict in the negative sense. I think what is happening is a normal scenario in a democracy where the civil society is holding the public institutions and public figures to account. NAC, as a public institution, has the obligation to be transparent and accountable to the public; and the civil society organization have the obligation and the right to hold public institutions and public figures to account. I think if all parties could look at the situation through such lenses, there would be less unnecessary name-calling and more objective analysis and resolutions.”

On the abuse of NAC resources by those in power, Jana said

“In poor societies like Malawi, more often than not, the government becomes the only meaningful avenue to acquiring resources and affluence. In Malawi at the moment the government is apparently broke; it seems it cannot meet most of its obligations. However, NAC seems to have a lot of resources owing mostly to external funders; and this leaves NAC as one of those few public institutions that has resources that can be accessed by those in power. In this context, allegations and stories of financial abuse and financial “reallocations” at NAC begin to make sense. Because NAC is susceptible to abuse and “reallocations”, it needs extra public scrutiny, and I think the recent CSOs scrutiny is necessary.”

He continued:“In a democracy, public institutions must be subjected to public scrutiny. NAC as an example of a public institution, must be subjected to public scrutiny. In this context, I think the concerns raised by the concerned CSOs and their actions are legitimate.

“The public institutions and leaders concerned are duty-bound to respond, and if their actions are responses seem not to be convincing, there is need for contact and dialogue and if need be, bringing in independent auditors and evaluators to give independent and expert opinion, so we can forge a credible way forward on how to manage and use such public funds” said Jana.

A spokesman for the organizers of Tuesday’s protests, Timothy Mtambo of the Centre for Human Rights Rehabilitation, told reporters that along with refunding the money, the demonstrators want to jumpstart a national a dialogue about fair governance.

They also want government to fire board members of National AIDS Commission within three weeks for “failing to discharge their duties by careless disbursement of money meant for HIV/AIDS activities.”

Mtambo also rights groups will take unspecified action should government fail to address the concerns within 100 days.

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Kanyimbi
Guest

The good news is that our economy is now going into the right direction. No person is 100% right. We Malawians will be focusing on the good things done by the president. To hell with you who always look at mistakes.

Namarokoro
Guest

Why would a learned dude analyse the obvious??? Komaso ku Malawi! Why can’t you discuss real issues. A form four student can equally do this analysis. Bull shit!

mgebegebe
Guest

amalawi mulibe chikondi, nsanje, apm sizikumukhudza iz thats y sakuyankha kanthu. so enanu kaya ndi chamba, koma mukuyenera kumakamba nkhani zabwino za dziko lanu. mukule, musiye kunena zoipa za mtsogoleri wanu.

BSB
Guest

Another Mutharika, same as the old Mutharika. Stealing money donated to help the poor of Malawi.

Wake up Malawians, your government is crooked.

Mwenecho
Guest

other pple r thinking this is a simple issue mavuto amenewa lets also check ku Red cross for this abuse.clean up NAC now

gab
Guest

And cashgate reflected ‘goodly’ on Joyce Banda

osborné
Guest

Mwana mlipwana iwe waonetsa kuti ndiwe supporter opanda kuganiza. Iwe sukuona link pamenepa? Uzazindikira patsogolo

osborné
Guest
The problem we have in Malawi is blind loyalty. Since time in memorial people aligned to the ruling party do not see any faults at the time its happening. During kamuzu time those closer to him told him all things were good and they believed whoever was against some policies was an enemy, during muluzi error the same was happening, during Jb the same was happening, during bingu time the same was happening, and now the same is happening. We call that blind loyalty where your brain gets hypnotised and begin to believe in everything the master fo. That’s insane… Read more »
Mercy Gogoda
Guest
Nutty Lecturer, begin by engaging the previous NAC hierarchy who disbursed funds like it was coming from a personal estate. Where were you when Thomas Bisika unilaterally gave Joyce Banda and the disgraced Reverend Sembereka (chisembwele) money from the same organisation you are pointing fingers, and was the head of state APM? Don’t try to defend the indefensible and drum up support because your brother lost a job after messing-up things at admarc. I am not surprised why Joyce Banda’s sister, Cecilia Kumpukwe once said, and I quote “aMalawi nonse ndinu MAKAPE”, end of quote. I think she was not… Read more »
MMALAWI
Guest

Same blind loyalty and sick reasoning. A wrong is a wrong, is a wrong, is a wrong regardless of when, who and under whose command it was committed. So to ask why the same wrong done under a previous regime wasn’t criticized doesn’t justify that it shouldn’t be criticized now pleaaaaaase!

Mong'onyolani
Guest

Let us not be tribalistic. Ngati zinthu zakhota aleke kukumbutsa? Kodi nkhaniyi yakhuza atumbuka bwanji? Tiyeni tisinthemikhalidwe yonyansayi.

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