Forum on ‘cashgate’ pay from Malawi State House

The Forum for National Development (FND), which heavily counters other organisations deemed to be government’s critics, is allegedly being sponsored by the State House, a top government official has confided in Nyasa Times.

The revelation comes following an audience FND Chairperson, Bright Kampaundi, and a member Arnold Mnelemba, reportedly had with President Joyce Banda at Sanjika Palace in Blantyre last Sunday.

According to FND sources, the meeting started at around 9.00am and was aimed at strategizing government’s activities to be undertaken by the forum.

Kampaundi: Being bankrolled by State House
Kampaundi: Being bankrolled by State House

The source further told Nyasa Times, the two “activists”  also pocketed K7 million for the forum’s operations.

“Their activities, among others, include attacking opposition parties’ leaders through various forms and also promote the ruling People’s Party (PP),” he said.

Their first assignment, according to the source, was to petition the Lilongwe City Council (LCC) to confiscate residential houses the former ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) President, Peter Mutharika, bought and the Bineth Trust owned by his late brother Bingu.

The forum successfully presented its petition to LCC Chief Executive Officer, Richard Hara, on Tuesday without any hassles where it also gave government a 14-day ultimatum to repossess the houses, controversially bought by Mutharika and other former cabinet ministers.

Kampaundi was accompanied by about 30 people including the FND National Coordinator, Fryson Chodzi, when he delivered the petition.

The source further said after the Lilongwe petition, FND would next week petition Malawi Housing Corporation (MHC) General Manager on the same issue.

But Kampaundi in an interview denied having met the president at State House arguing his forum was working independently.

“We don’t work for politicians but ordinary citizens. We never met the president nor received funding from any politician,” refuted Kampaundi, a human rights activist and Executive Director of Dedza- based Youth and Children Rights Shield.

But on the impending petition to MHC, Kampaundi confirmed they were indeed going to do so.

He said: “We are indeed going to petition MHC to confiscate all the houses which are involved in the scam.”

FND, since its foundation some weeks ago, has been working against other civil society organisations that criticize some of President Banda’s policies.

For instance, when the civil society Grand Coalition called for the “civil disobedience” by coming up with a Black Monday campaign where it asked Malawians to wear anything black every Monday, FND members denounced the proposition and facilitated the formulation of White Tuesday (Malawians to wear anything white on Tuesdays).

However, during the presentation of their petition in Lilongwe, the forum openly declared its interest when Kampaundi called on Malawians never to vote for the DPP saying the party will go back in government to plunder resources.

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