Stakeholders speak on new NGO Board Policy

Malawi government wants to remove regulation powers of Council for Non-governmental Organization in Malawi (Congoma) the draft NGO policy has indicated as stakeholders want government  to factor in some clauses which will enable the independence of the NGO Board of Malawi.

Misomali:

Misomali: There should be no fears

MacBain Mkandawire: NGO Board should be independent

MacBain Mkandawire: NGO Board should be independent

Among others, government is proposing to allocate all the powers to register, deregister, regulate and monitor activities for civil society organizations in the country in the hands of the NGO Board only unlike in the past when Congoma had a say in terms of registration, regulating and coordinating NGOs activities.

The draft policy also directs that the disposal of assets belonging to NGOs at the end of each project should be done through the NGO Board and not otherwise.

However, this has not gone will with some sections as some fear that the move will render Congoma useless as all its powers will be taken away.

“It seems the framers of the policy want to get rid of Congoma as in the past,  it used to act as an arbitrator between NGOs and government in the events of disagreements,” said CSO Chairperson Aggrey Mfune.

Principal Social Welfare Officer in the Ministry of Gender Dominic Misomali dismissed the fears saying government wants to put in place a policy that will be working alongside the law.

“We made a mistake to come up with a law before a policy document. We want to bring sanity in the way NGOs are operating to make sure that local people are benefiting from their services,” he said.

NGO Board is currently perceived by many stakeholders as a political arm for persecuting the works of Non Governmental Organisations in the county.

Council for Non Governmental Organisation (CONGOMA) Board Chair Macbain Mkandawire, in an interview appeals that NGO Board of Malawi should be independent in execution of its mandate and accuse NGO Board of lacking transparency.

“Most  NGOs  are uncomfortable with NGO Board being given the mandate to regulate NGOs in the country,” said Mkandawire.

On the proposal of surrendering assets to NGO Board after completion of the projects,  CONGOMA Board chair said  that should not be included as in principle such assets are supposed to be in the hands of an NGO’s trustees when such NGO is dissolved.

Dr Mary Shaba, who is chairperson of the steering committee on the formulation of the policy, says there is no need for Malawians to worry saying the policy will help NGOs to be well regulated and harmonised.

“For example as Government we will be able to know which NGO is working where, their constitution, their working areas since all will now be registered,” Said Dr Shaba.

NGO-Board Chair, Abgail Dzimazi, urged Mkandawire to channel all concerns through the steering committee on the formulation of the policy or through the technical committee.

Happy Kayuni, a University of Malawi lecturer and one of the architects of the policy said the document will help promote accountability and transparency amongst the NGOs in Malawi.

Just a few weeks ago, NGO Board vice chairman Maziko Matemba warned all NGOs not registered with the board will be struck off but this was challenged by other lawyers who say the NGO Board has no legal mandate to do so.

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3 thoughts on “Stakeholders speak on new NGO Board Policy”

  1. james Botha says:

    sometimes I get surprised where some people think are more NGOs or CSOs Mcben Mkandawire is a government agent he is the board chairperson for local development fund (LDF) appointed by the State President Peter Mutharika and also we hear he got government contract to manage all Early Child Development centres across Malawi who gave him those…..and only employs people from his home the northern region…. Malawi please don’t be fooled Everyone knows that he z using congoma for his own benefit not suffering NGOs…….he does not wish malawi NGOs well mark my word.. please Malawi NGOs open your eyes and see….you will believe one day….all local NGOs will be dead with congoma ….

  2. bomalathu says:

    Bwana Mkandawire what is it that you want to hide. 100% of Board members to NGO Board comes from NGOs which is an anormally but that makes the NGO Board more than independent. In the region all NGO Boards are Government departments. It is only NGO Board of Malawi that carries its own structure and decisions. The question should be to what extent has the Board previously been used by Government to cast doubt. Is CONGOMA an association or not? if an Association should Chair of CONGOMA promote violation of the Constitutional right of freedom of association by sticking to force NGOs register with CONGOMA first? We need costitutional order here and this really makes NGO Board a toothless regulator. Despite threats from NGO Board you will go no where in enforcing the law. Beneficiaries be the target and not our own stomarcks. We in capital hill are waoiting to see how NGOs will fail to tackle issues of freedom of association as enshrined in the constitutions. Big question is register with NGO Board through CONGOMA or Not? I rest my case.

  3. Khondo says:

    That’s Malawi, always just moving in circles, no direction as long as mukudya ma allowance. You always think NGO’s mean money. Try to run an NGO yourselves and you will see how you will flop. The toughest job in an NGO is resource mobilisation not running a project nut you are there always looking at how the resources will be allocated at the end of the project as if you assist in resource mobilisation, aMisomali dni a Shaba anuwo, fwetseke

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