A governance activist has described the reaction by presidential adviser on civil society and non-governmental organisations Mavuto Bamusi to the civil society organisations (CSOs) planned demonstrations against K4 billion scandal and other issues as insensitive and an insult to Malawians who continue to be robbed of their development due to financial mismanagement and corruption.
CSOs announced plans to hold nationwide protests on April 27 2018 to express displeasure with government’s handling of the K4 billion allocation to members of Parliament (MPs) and other issues.
Reacting to the CSO’s call for demonstrations, Bamusi described the plans as “anti-development”, and that the CSOs were only pushing their personal agenda in the demonstrations when in reality government “was convinced that K4 Billion was not an issue worth demonstrations.”
But a local governance activist Makhumbo Munthali has faulted Bamusi’s remarks, arguing that such statements “are not only insensitive and an insult to Malawians but that they also confirm the CSOs planned demonstrations’ theme which contends that Mutharika’s regime takes Malawians for granted”.
He told Nyasa Times: “It is a mockery to the plight of Malawians for the whole Presidential Advisor to rise up and label public’s calls for accountability and investigations in the dubious government-masterminded K4 Billion ‘miracle’ fund anti-development.
“If the whole Presidential Advisor cannot see merit in the citizens holding their government on the serious allegations of corruption and misallocation and abuse of tax payers money through a constitutionally guaranteed demonstrations as is the case in the infamous K4 Billion, what does this say about the integrity of the government? What does this say about the government’s fight against corruption in the country? There is no way a serious government which is committed to fighting corruption and impunity can describe the K4 Billion ‘miracle’ fund scandal as not an issue worth demonstrations”, said Munthali.
Added Munthali: “Besides, is the calling for government to free biased MBC through a demonstration anti-developmental? Is calling for government to come up with a lasting solution to the continued blackouts anti-developmental? Should we really label the CSO’s call for government or MPs to re-table and pass the Law Commission’s recommended electoral reforms anti-developmental? What does Bamusi mean by anti-development? Lawlessness, corruption, misallocation of funds, abuse of office and crookedness cannever be equated to development. Perhaps the blame should not go to Bamusi but rather to the dictionary or books he read which may have misled him. Otherwise you don’t expect a person of his calibre to stoop so low and utter these remarks”, said Munthali.
Munthali further warned that “the Presidential Advisor’s conceptualisation of development had the potential of encouraging lawlessness, corruption, abuse of office, and misallocation of public funds under the guise that the ends would justify the crooked means”.
“The initial allocation and disbursement of K4 Billion to 86 MPs who frustrated the people’s electoral reforms cannever be said to be development. Even the re-distribution of the K4 Billion to all 196 Constituencies without a law and clear guidelines and criteria supporting such a dubious fund cannot be said to be developmental.
“Should we really call the concealing of the source of K4 Billion fund, and subsequent change of tunes on the same with the 2 ministers and technocrats offering conflicting statements from that of savings, well-wishers to that of an experiment developmental? As argued by one legal scholar, there is no right way of doing wrong things,” argued Munthali
Munthali also added that government’s handling of K4 Billion saga were in sharp contrast to the dictates of the District Development planning system and process, the newly launched Malawi Growth and Development Strategy III, the Human Rights Based Approach to Development, the outcome of the April 2017 Anti-Corruption Conference in Malawi, and the African Union’s Agenda 2063 where accountability and transparency are the key fundamentals in dealing with corruption and achieve sustainable development.
Meanwhile, the Public Affairs Committee (PAC), Centre for Human Rights and Rehabilitation (CHRR), Centre for Development of People (Cedep), Youth and Society (YAS), Citizens Forum for the Defence of Good Governance, Civil Society Network Transparency and Accountability Child Rights Information and Documentation (CRIDOC), Knowledge of the Laws of the Land (KNOLL), AND Outreach Scout Foundation (OSF) have endorsed the CSO’s plans for demonstrations.