Crossing the floor of presidential leaders – ‘Church an alternative to CSOs’

Ronald Mtonga of the Council for Non Governmental Organisations (Congoma) has said the civil society organisations (CSOs) have let people down. He was speaking on the background that most of the vibrant CSO members have gone quiet and more are seeking elected positions.

Speaking during the Conference on Consolidation of Democratic Governance and the Electoral Process in Malawi: The Role of the Church, on Thursday in Mangochi, Mtonga wondered if these leaders were vocal only to pursue their own political interests.

“It will not be strange for people to start to wonder if these people were so vocal, especially during the late Bingu wa Mutharika era, for their own political benefits.

Delegates captured during the workshop of Malawi Council of Churches
Delegates captured during the workshop of Malawi Council of Churches

“The church may now provide that alternative in providing checks and balances as they are closer to the people and are meant to speak for the oppressed and serve the vulnerable,” he said.

The Malawi Council of Churches (MCC) is holding a four day conference that seeks to build consensus and ensure good democratic governance that benefits the people of Malawi.

Another participant agreed that CSOs are more interested in benefiting the needs of their donors other than those of the people or the nation.

“They are there and watching anger growing in the people because they are frustrated and disappointed at the poor showing of all the political leaders they have tried since single party system.

“NGOs have the financial muscle and can change their perceptions and way of looking at things. They can easily bring awareness for people to start to demand for their democratic rights,” said Rev. Colin M’bawa.

Religious leaders from member churches of the Council and from the Episcopal Conference of Malawi (ECM) and Evangelical Association of Malawi (EAM), civil society representatives from NICE, CMD, NDI, NGOGCN among others, the media and the academia are part of the participants.

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