Donors weigh in on NGO Act Amendment: Bill has potential to limit civic space

Key development partners (DPs) have weighed in on the proposed NGO Act Amendment Bill, recommending that Non-Governmental Organizations Board (NGO) Board of Malawi should conduct comprehensive and inclusive consultations before taking the Bill to parliament.

Njikho -Lungu: Bill needs a clear roadmap on the amendment Bill

Among other things, the NGO Act Amendment Bill seeks to transform the NGO Board of Malawi into a more powerful NGO regulatory authority. It also seeks to impose new stiffer penalties and criminalization in case of malpractices by NGOs.

But the donors feel that the proposed Bill is still not sensitive to human rights and has potential to limit civic space.

The concerned DPs include the European Union (EU), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and Irish Aid, therefore, recommended that there should be comprehensive consultations before the Bill goes to the National Assembly for debate.

Both UNDP Portfolio Manager Responsible Institutions and Citizen Engagement, Dr. Agnes Chimbiri, and NGO Board Director of Corporate Services, Linda Njikho-Lungu, confirmed that the meeting took place.

However, Chimbiri said she was not mandated to speak to the media. She referred the matter to UN Resident Coordinator to Malawi, Maria Jose Torres Macho, who could not be immediately reached for a comment.

On the other hand, Njikho-Lungu said the main fear among the DPs was that hasty changes to the Act could limit civic space for the civil society organizations (CSOs) in Malawi.

“They made some suggestions, which include the review of the proposed name NGO Regulatory Authority. The DPs felt that the word ‘authority’ is instilling fear among sector players; hence, we need to review it,” she said.

Njikho-Lungu added that the DPs recommended that a clear roadmap on the amendment Bill and consultation meetings done expeditiously.

She said the donors recommended that the Board should get inputs from Malawi Human Rights Commission (MHRC), the Ministry of Civic Education and National Unity, the Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC), Malawi Police Service and the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB), among other players.

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1 year ago

Why is it always EU, USA, etc… China and other powers always mind their own business

Che Jika
Che Jika
1 year ago

Please dont bow down to the Donors pressure, let them respect laws of the land.These guys are full of double standards abolishing capital punishment here but keep it in their countries, so that they can come here and harvest our body parts fuck off.

Erik P
Erik P
1 year ago

A case of politics meets greed. Many Malawians simply view NGOs as a cash cow, including NGO board. It’s just there to milk for money. Local NGOs also want to force international NGOs to give them cash when working in same district. Many international NGOs are also trying to influence the way Malawians think and act (politics with a small p) and so develop resistance to their ulterior motives. An irresolvable issue.

1 year ago

ma donors fokofu zanu mwaphangira Vaccine ya Covid kumabwera kumatiwuza zochita anthu oyipa kwambiri inu…..kagweleni uko

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