Dialogue should not replace accountability in Malawi K4bn saga: Caution on Goodall’s talks with CSO’s

Caution has been sounded as  Finance, Economic Planning and Development Minister  Goodall Gondwe—who is under pressure over the K4 billion allocation to legislators that critics say is irregular—has invited civil society organisations (CSOs) pushing for his resignation to a meeting to explain the matter, with governance activists saying dialogue should not replace the essence of  public accountability in the country.

Timothy Mtambo of CHRR, Trapence and Rev Macdonald Sembereka: Caution should not be thrown to the wind as Goodall begs for dialogue

The meeting’s invitation follows mounting pressure and calls from some CSOs for Gondwe and Minister of Local Government and Rural Development Kondwani Nankhumwa to resign for allocating K4 billion to constituencies without proper explanation of the source of the funding and criteria used to select beneficiary constituencies.

Initially, the K4 billion was meant to benefit constituencies only with each receiving K40 million, but after Malawi News report exposed it and  uproar in Parliament, a deal was reached between government and the opposition for all the 193 constituencies to benefit.

A local governance activist Makhumbo Munthali said while the dialogue must be viewed as one of the platforms for the public purse-keeper to clarify his role in the K4 billion saga, “caution must be taken by the invited CSOs” when engaging with government.

Munthali told Nyasa Times: “It is a fact that DPP government initiated dialogue has in the recent past proved to be mere platforms of appeasement and window-dressing to score a political point rather than addressing the real issues at hand.”

In a letter dated March 12 2018, Gondwe has invited leaders of Youth and Society (YAS), Centre for Human Rights and Rehabilitation (CHRR) and Centre for the Development of the People (CEDEP) to an “interface” meeting on Wednesday, March 14, 2018 at the ministry headquarters at Capitol Hill in Lilongwe.

Munthali said the invited CSOs “must realise in their engagement that while dialogue is a positive step forward,  the nature of the issue at hand also requires that a number of avenues still be explored in as far as coming to the bottom of the issue at hand, and that all those who flouted the processes be held accountable on the same.”

The governance activist pointed out that issues of allegations of corruption in relation to rewarding the rejection of 50% plus-one electoral law, the flouting of legally sanctioned government procedures in the way the issues has been handled by the two ministers Gondwe and Nankhumwa,  “cannot necessarily be resolved in the dialogue set-up.”

He said: “Dialogue shouldn’t be perceived as a substitute for accountability of public officers on serious issues of misallocation of public resources. Doing so would be creating a bad precedent.”

Munthali then urged the invited  CSOs and government   to put into considering the factors of accountability and transparency as they deliberate in the public interest.

Commenting on the matter, Malawi’s flagship newspaper, The Daily Times, titled its editorial comment: “Gondwe is insulting Malawians.”

In the comment, the paper said it is an “insult” to see Gondwe  “continuing to be adamant by saying that facts are being distorted on the issue.”

Concluded the editorial: “For him [Gondwe] to invite and plan to lecture the CSOs is immoral. He has already dug his heels that he is right. He is not.”

Gondwe’s letter, titled ‘Request for a meeting on the K4 billon saga” is addressed to YAS leader Charles Kajoloweka and copied to CHRR and CEDEP, said the Finance Minister wants to  give “accurate information.”

Both Kajoloweka and CEDEP leader Trapence confirmed receipt of the letter.

. Kajoloweka said the CSOs leaders will meet to decide the way forward.
“We are in receipt of the letter. We have taken note of the request. We will meet as CSO leaders to come up with a position whether to attend the meeting or not. The nation will be informed,” he said.

Kajoloweka added that the CSOs will also respond formally to the minister by Tuesday.

Trapence concurred with Kajoloweka about the CSO leaders’ meeting before providing a formal response to the minister regarding the request.

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nachisale
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nachisale

CSOs mwezi watuluka ayamba kuzungulira mutu. Just shut the fu*k up! There’s no issue here don’t waste our time.

Tenzi Mzungu
Guest
Tenzi Mzungu

So you are denying him the chance of being heard? He he yet you claim we are in democratic politics. A sembereka ndiye mwaondatu. Mulipo?

santana
Guest
santana

These CSOs leadership are all stupid as their friends in Parliament especially in the opposition. Kajoloweka and his friends should tell us if Gondwe did not give Parliament a chance to debate this 4BN. CSO’s should tell us how did the issuing of 40bn changed to 20bn if not the parliamentarians themselves including the runaway pastor in the name of Chakwera. Who will care if you don’t accept Gondwe’s invitation? Govt cannot be afraid of dunderheads like you because you don’t have any authority to tell it what to do. Govt has a mandate to give its people development and… Read more »

DzukaniAmalawi
Guest
DzukaniAmalawi

As a citizen Santana, are you not worried with the way the K4 billion cash was all of a sudden available for disbursement given that we have an austerity budget. Granted, the matter was debated in parliament but that doesn’t mean that we cannot question the source of funds. We may have MP’s who don’t even understand and have no clue how public purse works (source and application/allocation of public funds). It may be that indeed MP’s voted the way they did because they thought funds will be directly deposited into their personal account (wrong intent). Maybe MP’s were duped… Read more »

eric
Guest
eric

Too much ado about nothing here. Are the CSOs trying to deny MAlawians their natural human right to rural development? Why not let the money be disbursed and ensure every tambala is accounted for. That way both sides win; Malawians have the rural development and accountability is achieved.

Malawian
Guest
Malawian

The money should not be disbursed please CSOs

Manyi ako
Guest
Manyi ako

GUDO wakalamba musalore kumvera maganizo a nkhalamba zimenezo.zi anthu zopanda mano koma kuba daily.Ndalamazo mukadyera kumanda? shupiti..

DzukaniAmalawi
Guest
DzukaniAmalawi

MCP, UDF, DPP, PP and DPP (again); have created a nation of delinquents with its youth no better than street beggars. A nation whose citizens tolerate useless political leaders in power who are incapable of delivering basic services to its people. It is no secret that the education sector has collapsed to a point where it is no longer relevant in today’s and tomorrow’s world. The health sector is no longer providing for the desperate poor people with children dying right in hospitals due to lack of drugs and equipment. You have created a nation whose daily sports is to… Read more »

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