Local civil society organisations (CSOs) with membership to the Southern Africa People’s Solidarity Network (SAPSN) are expected to report worsening corruption and bad governance in Malawi at the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) People’s Summit to be held on 16 and 17 August in Windhoek, Namibia ahead of the 38th Ordinary Summit of SADC Heads of State and Government.
The SADC Heads of State and Government Summit itself will take place on 17 and 18 August under the theme “Promoting Infrastructure Development and Youth Empowerment for Sustainable Development”.
The People’s Summit creates a platform for SAPSN member CSOs to influence enabling policy and legal environment, hold the SADC Heads of State and Government accountable and remind them of commitments agreed upon at SADC level for the common well-being of people in the region.
In Malawi, some of SAPSN members are Center for Community and Youth Development (CCYD), Malawi Economic Justice Network (MEJN), Malawi Human Rights Youth Network (MHRYN), Girls Not Brides Malawi (GNB Malawi) and Crossboarder Traders Association of Malawi.
In their statement titled “Malawi Solidarity Speech At 2018 SADC Peoples’s Summit” to be read by CCYD Executive Director Weston Msowoya, the organisations note that corruption remains a serious issue in Malawi especially in public service delivery and political circles.
Apparently, the 2017 Corruption Perception Index (CPI) by Transparency International (TI) shows that the country has moved down two places from 120 in 2016 to 122 in 2017.
“Civil servants and private firms connive with politicians to defraud the state. Justice is not being served in the interest of Malawians. The malpractice is retarding the development of our country,” reads part of the statement.
The CSOs have put into perspective the food rations deal involving Malawi Police Service (MPS) and Pioneer Investments (PI) in which President Peter Mutharika allegedly benefited 145 million kwacha through a Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) account where the president is a sole signatory, the procurement of multi-billion kwacha generators at the Electricity Supply Corporation of Malawi (ESCOM) which the CSOs allege was done corruptly and the siphoning of fuel worth 1.6 billion kwacha meant for the generators.
“We demand that the Anti Corruption Bureau (ACB) must be independent enough to investigate these cases thoroughly and bring all the culprits to justice. The Southern Africa Forum Against Corruption should intervene to bring down corruption in Malawi and SADC through implementation of the SADC Protocol Against Corruption of 2001,” state the CSOs in their statement.
Meanwhile, an ACB investigation report into the food rations deal has just exonerated President Mutharika, saying he did not benefit even a single coin from the 145 million kwacha.
The development has drawn mixed reactions among Malawians and analysts with some of them concluding that the ACB is working under heavy executive interference.
The SAPSN CSOs, in their statement, have also expressed concern over rising youth unemployment in Malawi.
“This is bleeding frustration and desperation among the youth who comprise 65% of the country’s population,” notes the statement.
It adds: “There is too much lip service on the importance of technical, vocational education, and training and the development of other skills relevant to both local and global economies in Malawi. We demand practical youth skills development and economic empowerment programmes”.
The CSOs have also zeroed in on the May 2019 tripartite elections, denouncing bickering and violence ahead of the polls.
According to their statement, Government is using state owned Malawi Broadcasting Corporation (MBC) to castigate the opposition including CSOs and yet Malawians go to the elections next year as frustrated voters because authorities have not fulfilled what they promised them.
“Government must stop using MBC to incite public anger which is likely to cause political and ethnic violence”.
The statement has wound up by also condemning government’s indecisiveness on other crucial issues such as mining, land rights and drug abuse.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :