The leadership of the governing Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) has apologised over remarks which it’s secretary general (SG) Greselder Jeffrey wa Jeffrey and Vice President Hetherwick Ntata made to rubbish calls by Malawi Law Society (MLS)and other civil society organisations (CSOs) condemning donations by State enterprises in a fund-raising drive branded ‘Blue Night’ and demanded a refund to the agencies.
Wa Jeffrey called the calls condemning the manner in which DPP mobilised finances from government agencies, most of whom are financially struggling, as “zachamba [nonsense]” and a waste of time. While Ntata said the calls were “rubbish.”
But the CSOs that are going to court over abuse of state companies demands apology before they had to participate at the dialogue meeting with government include.
The CSOs ; Youth and Society, Human Rights Consultative Committee, Centre for Development of People and Church, Centre for Human Rights and Rehabilitation and Society of Livingstonia Synod met DPP brass on Friday and the meeting dwelled much on the crass remarks by party Secretary General.
The DPP apologised for the arrogant remarks by its leadership aimed at the CSOs over the sagaremarks, admitting it was in bad taste.
However, the CSOs who accepted the apology insisted that the DPP needs to return the money it got from Councils and parastatals.
“Malawi is a country of laws, and there is nowhere in the laws where public institutions are mandated to fund activities of a political grouping. This is why as CSOs, we will not compromise on our principal stand that the money be paid back and that those involved in giving the money to the DPP must be disciplined accordingly,” said CHRR Executive Director Timothy Mtambo .
“Being a ruling political party, we expected the DPP to lead by example in staying from abusing public funds, but the message citizens are now getting out there is that DPP is bent on perpetuating cash-gate in the country,” he said.
Mtambo further feared that with such brazen abuse of public resources by the ruling party, it could be a tall order for the much-cherished Public Sector Reforms to bear fruits in the country.
On July 29 2017, DPP held a fundraising dinner and dance at Kamuzu Palace in Lilongwe where Blantyre City Council (BCC), Mzuzu City Council (MCC) and Lilongwe Water Board (LWB), among others, made financial contributions totaling K13.5 million.
Meanwhile, Malawi News columnist George Kasakula has given DPP’s tone down a pinch of a salt.
In his “Hitting the Nail” column, Kasakura wrote: “The DPP is toning down because it has realised dismissing the five civil society organisations with the wave of its hand, so that we all forget and move on to wait for another round of abuse and bad governance, is not working.”
He continued: “But when did DPP dialogue with anybody for the good of the nation? Does the party even know the colour and spelling of dialogue?Does DPP think Malawians have forgotten how it treated Public Affairs Committee (Pac) when it demanded dialogue with government on resolutions of its first all-inclusive conference that included an end to corruption, nepotism and selective justice?”
Kasakura argues that the five CSOs will be “foolhardy” to believe a word that DPP is saying on dialogue.
“The DPP simply wants to move on and will not pay back a single dime of the money they bullied city councils and state companies into giving them.Which is why, for the impunity to stop, the High Court must come to the rescue of the long suffering Malawians by coming up with a ruling that calls a spade by its rightful name of a spade and not a big spoon.
“Malawians have suffered enough at the hands of struggling state companies that cannot even repair a broken water pipe and have now resorted to pumping toilet stuff into people’s homes and disguise it as water,” he wrote.
The columnist pointed out that the DPP only listens to protests, strikes and court cases.
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