Karonga South MP Malani Mtonga ( Peoples Party) has expressed concern on the decision by government to chop up budgets that have anything to do with holding the government to account.
In spite of a promise to properly fund transparency and accountability bodies that ensure democratic values are upheld, she Office of the Ombudsman, constitutionally mandated – as a public protector – to investigate any and all cases where a person may have suffered injustice, is one of the worst sufferers in the 2015/16 budget. It has been allocated a paltry K270 million, a decline from an already insufficient K342 million allocated in the 2014/15 budget.
The judiciary and Anti Corruption Bureau (ACB) have also suffered cuts.
“It is high time we guard our democracy and win back donor confidence as a nation. We have governance institutions like ACB, National Assembly, Law Commission, Ombudsman, Legal Aid, Malawi Human Rights Commission and Director of Public Declaration of Assets. It is sad to note that these institution’s allocations have suffered heavy cuts in their budgetary allocations,” said Mtonga continuing the budget statement in parliament.
“ I, therefore, plead with the Ministry of Finance, Economic Planning and Development to consider allocating some more funds to these governance institutions,” he said.
On the part of Judiciary, which was allocated K1.3 billion last year the allocation this year has been reduced to K1 billion, noted Mtonga.
“We feel that the Judiciary is being suffocated,” said the lawmaker.
“ Therefore, we plead for additional allocation to the Judiciary. If it receives more allocation the people of Chilumba will benefit from it because we are looking forward to having a court at Uliwa as people there travel long distances to access justice,” said Mtonga.
Additionally, there have been cuts to Local Government and Rural Development, Land and Housing, Youth Development and Sports, Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development, Financial Intelligence Unit, Registrar General, Transport and Public Works, Human Rights Commission and the Anti- Corruption Bureau.