Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs Samuel Tembenu has been challenged over his criticism to the European Union (EU) and Britain for demanding government to finalise and circulate a report on corruption to enable stakeholders to take action.
In April last year, the Malawi Government held a high-profile conference on corruption where stakeholders discuss how to combat corruption in the country, among other issues.
European Union Ambassador Marchel Germann is on record saying the development partners were still waiting for the official report of the Conference.
But Tembenu said on the second day of the conference all delegates were given the recommendations and that a report would not change anything.
Tembenu’s comment prompted governance activist Mankhumbo Munthali – as one of the delegates who participated in both the conference and the preceding stakeholder consultations under the burner of Evangelical Association of Malawi (EAM) and Public Affairs Committee (PAC) –that the Justice Minister is not being honest by saying that he already presented the demanded report during the conference.
“ What donors and Civil Society are demanding is a report -as committed by government- that amongst other issues clearly document the roadmap on how government would address the issues raised during the conference and the preceding consultations it had conducted,” Munthali told Nyasa Times.
He said what Tembenu is claiming to have been circulated to the delegates is a mere compilation of findings that came out from the consultations which government had conducted prior to the conference.
“However, government committed more than just a mere sharing of the findings. It promised to come back to the stakeholders and all Malawians with a detailed report which would amongst other things contain a roadmap on how government would ensure that the issues raised during both the conference and consultations are addresed.
“Otherwise, it is a waste of donor and tax payers money to just end at presenting findings without showing the way forward on how government would address the issues raised in the conference,” Munthali added.
Solicitor General Dr. Janet Chikaya Banda is on record to have assured the delegates that all the resolutions would be sent to Cabinet verbatim for review before a report for the conference and the roadmap could be shared with stakeholders and the public.
Tembenu echoed Banda’s sentiments by stressing that the Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs would be examining the recommendations and advise the cabinet accordingly. He however said that for those [recommendations] that were implementable immediately, the government would proceed to do so.
Sadly, almost a year down the line the report detailing the action plan put in place to address the agreed resolutions as promised by both the Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs and the Secretary of Justice has not been shared with the general public.
No wonder the donors have risen up to simply remind government on its earlier commitments to release this report. Certainly, patronage and clientelism would perceive EU’s stance as interference in domestic affairs.
The governance activist Munthali said it is important to stress that donors just like all stakeholders are also concerned about the worsening state of corruption in the country, and this is the reason why they support both government and civil society interventions that are aimed at ridding the nation of this malpractice. Besides, the donors have all right to demand a report from government on a conference which they financially supported.
According to the Solicitor General as quoted in the Nation On Sunday of April 30, 2017, the “conference cost donors such as European Union (EU), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Oxfam and government some MK 20 million”.
Consequently, the continued failure to share the detailed report and action plan seems to give weight to the assertion that the conference was one of those window-dressing activities aimed at appeasing the general public and the development partners that something was being done to address the worsening corruption in the country.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :