CSO urges Tonse gov’t to pay a listening ear to anti-government protesters

Catholic-based Centre for Social Concern (CfSC) says the ever-growing number of young people joining anti-government protests, which political activist Bon Kalindo has been organizing, is a clear indication that something has gone amiss in the Tonse Alliance government.

CfSC Executive Director Reverend Father Dr. James Ngahy has since challenged President Dr. Lazarus Chakwera-led administration to address the issues Kalindo and his followers are pointing out in their petitions to the government.

Ganda–The meeting has brought out though-provoking issues–Photo by Watipaso Mzungu, Nyasa Times

Ngahy stressed that the overall persistent high level of poverty in Malawi suggests that poverty is primarily the consequence of more about power sharing and how society shares money out than how much money is overall available in the coffer.

He made the remarks in Salima on Monday during the stakeholders’ conference on lessons from decentralised public finance management project.

With funding from GIZ, Centre for Social Concern has been implementing a project titled, Building Covid-19 Resilience through Promoting Transparency and Accountability in Public Finance Management for Reduced Poverty and Inequality.

The goal of the project was to empower citizens to demand Transparency and Accountability in Public Financial Management for Reduced Inequality and Poverty.

Ngahy–It’s hight time the Tonse Alliance government started listening to the cry of the people–Photo by Watipaso Mzungu, Nyasa Times

As the project is coming to an end today, CfSC has organized this stakeholder’s conference to share lessons and challenges during its implementation.

The conference, which had members of the Business and Finance Committee of Parliament in attendance, was, therefore, aimed at creating a conducive and positive debate on the effectiveness and challenges of Decentralized Public Finance Management and how citizens are being affected positively or negatively.

Ngahy said poverty in Malawi is a result of the way society is organized and resources are allocated, whether these are financial or other resources such as access to health and social services, education and other economic services.

Participants to the the stakeholders’ conference on lessons from decentralised public finance management project–Photo by Watipaso Mzungu, Nyasa Times

“We have great hope that Mr. Richard Chimwendo Banda, the new Minister of Youth and Sports, will address perpendicularly and accordingly some of the issues raised! Furthermore, although the government is trying to put its house together, especially with the new appointed cabinet, yet women and youth continue to be disproportionately represented in decision-making positions,” he said.

He warned that under-representation of youth and women in political and decision-making positions has adverse effect on national development as women offer different perspectives and interests in the decision-making process, from their unique experiences, which are often overlooked.

Ngahy said CfSC appreciates and stands hand-in-hand with those who have been speaking against government’s trend towards nepotism, favouritism and corruption stance, observing that these are part of the root causes of dismantling country’s economy; hence, sustain poverty and inequality.

“They are part and parcel of the blockage of transparency and accountability in all sectors, let it be government or private. Malawians living in both urban and rural areas are victims of poverty because of these negative impacts of macroeconomic performance and policies,” he explained.

Chairperson of the Budget and Finance Committee, Gladys Ganda, cited corruption as a major factor frustrating development of the country.

Ganda said corruption levels remain devastating and this is affecting development in the communities.

On the other hand, she proposed an increase in the Constituency Development Fund (CDF), saying this will help taking development to the communities as the fund is handled at the constituency level.

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