Civil Society Organisations under the banner of Anti-NACGATE have hit back at “proponents” of NACGATE –taking money from National Aids Commission (NAC) to fund activities that have nothing to do with the fight against the HIV/Aids pandemic – citing that their arguments raise more questions than answers especially on their motives and integrity.
In a statement presented at a news conference in Lilongwe at Crossroads Hotel, Centre for Human Rights and Rehabilitation (CHRR), Centre for Development of People (Cedep), MANET +, MANERELA, and MHEN said they had noted with open-mindedness and intrigue some lines of thinking and arguments being advanced by some quarters in support of NAC gesture in releasing funds to First Lady Gertrude Mutharika’s Beautify Malawi (Beam) Trust and tribal grouping Mulhako wa Alhomwe .
The Malawi Interfaith and Aids Alliance (MIAA), National Aids Commission (NAC), Maxwell Matewere (Vice Chairperson of CONGOMA and board member of BEAM Trust, Mavuto Bamusi (President Peter Mutharika’s Advisor on NGOs and board member of BEAM Trust) and others have been in the limelight justifying “NAGGATE” citing NAC funding is for everyone, and hence there was nothing wrong in the implicated institutions in accessing it as part of HIV AIDS mainstreaming drive.
Just recently Matewere faulted CSOs who are demanding justice and the truth on NACGATE of being rushy in their decision to hold demonstrations.
“It has to be made clear here that much as NAC funding is for the public, this does not render the body easily manipulated by government forces, as has been the case with BEAM and Mhlako wa Alomwe.
“Primarily, NAC funding is for national HIV and Aids response and within the national response, there are strategic organizations, (not the two in question) that play a critical role in the national response whose financial allocation has been decreasing recently; constraining realization of evidence based targeted impact.”
The CSOs, stated that they find it imperative to question NAC moral justification to swiftly release funds to the said institutions.
“For sure BEAM and Mlhakho wa Alhomwe can never be said to be strategic stakeholders in the HIV and Aids response,” reads part of the statement signed by Timothy Mtambo (CHRR executive director), Safari Mbewe (MANET + executive director), Gift Trapence (Cedep executive director), Martha Kwataine (MHEN executive director) and Macdonald Sembereka (MANERELA executive director).
“NAC denies having granted any money to Beautify Malawi but rather participated in the Beautify Malawi launch activities through buying dinner tables for stakeholders and advertising during the launch. Ironically, the First Lady Madame Getrude Mutharika’s consents having received the K5, 000, 000 million grant for her BEAM Trust but defends herself of not using any political influence to get the money. What a contradiction!” reads the statement
According to the CSOs, it was more insulting for NAC to claim that the release of funds for Mulhakho Wa Lomwe and Beautify Trust were part of its “high level advocacy initiatives”.
“More insulting is NAC’s defence of release of funds for Mulhakho Wa Lomwe function as part of its ‘high level advocacy initiatives’. How does NAC define “high level advocacy initiatives” for HIV and AIDS? Did we really see any “high level advocacy initiatives”, or even “low level advocacy initiatives, on HIV and AIDS in both functions? If NAC defines “high level advocacy initiatives on HIV and AIDS” as such, then we should all be afraid of entrusting a body whose minimum targets and standards for measuring HIV and AIDS advocacy and impact initiatives are far beyond the public and global expectations. Which budget line did NAC use for these initiatives? NAC statement did not manage to address any of our concerns, if truth be told,” argue Mtambo, Trapence, Kwataine, Mbewe and Sembereka.
The CSOs also took a swipe at Matewere questioning his reasoning on the nationwide demonstrations plan as being a rushed one as well as representing CONGOMA on an issue he has conflict of interest for being a board member of BEAM trust.
“We, the CSOs are not sure if Matewere was speaking in his capacity as CONGOMA vice chairperson or a board member of BEAM, the beneficiary of NAC-gate in question. Otherwise, we take it that CONGOMA is a membership body and we wonder if Matewere’s arguments are as a result of consultative process with CONGOMA members. Nevertheless, we question his reasoning that the nationwide demonstrations plan is a rushed one. For someone to assert that our decision to have a nationwide demonstrations as being rush considering the background of a 7-days ultimatum which was given to all the implicated parties involved to respond and refund the money is totally misplaced, and only indicates lack of objectivity on such a person.”
The CSOs added: “Instead of receiving the expected responses, and refund of the abused NAC money, what we got was sheer ‘executive arrogance’ not only from NAC but also the institutions in question in particular BEAM trust who through Presidential Advisor on NGOs Mavuto Bamusi indicated they cannot refund the money, and the CSOs should go ahead with the planned demonstrations. After all, there is still space for the concerned organisations to refund the money before January 13th 2014.”
Meanwhile, CONGOMA has distanced itself from remarks made by its Vice Chairperson Matewere on the matter citing that such remarks were made in his personal capacity.
In an interview with Malawi News of 20th December 2014, CONGOMA Chairperson Macbain Mkandawire said that CONGOMA did not have any consultative meeting amongst its board members to discuss the issue and come up with a position on the matter, as such Matewere’s views cannot be said to represent CONGOMA. He denied having delegated Matewere.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :