Kwataine appointed  presidential aide, says Chakwera  ready to engage with CSOs

President Lazarus Chakwera has appointed influential female human rights activist Martha Kwataine as a presidential advisor on non-governmental organisations (NGOs) overcrowding State House with the inflation-busting league of advisors.

Kwataine: President Chakwera is ready to be challenged
Kondowe: Civic space has been fast shrinking in Malawi

Kwataine appointment came to light when she spoke during a governance and human rights commentators dinner meeting  on expanding  the civic space to safeguard Malawi’s democracy organised by Citizen Alliance at Lilongwe Hotel on Friday  night.

She was as executive director of Malawi Health Equity Network (Mehn) which she founded  and  had been one of the vocal voices during the Bingu wa Mutharika regime but kept a low profile during the Joyce Banda administration that offered her chairmanship at the Malawi Communications Regulatory Authority.

Speaking during the dinner,  Kwataine said President Chakwera is committed to engage  civil society organisations (CSOs) that have constructive ideas on national building.

Said Kwataine: “The President is willing to promote indigenous organisations and he is ready to be challenged and engaged with constructive ideas.”

Kwataine assured CSOs in the country that the Tonse Alliance led government is serious on preserving human rights issues.

“I stand here to assure you that the Tonse Alliance government is committed to ensuring that there is a level playing field for local and international NGO’s operating in different spaces within Malawi,”  she said.

She said there is need for, the government and NGOs to form a strong force against the country’s common enemies which include poverty, hunger, diseases and corruption.

“When civic space is open, citizens and civil society organisations can organise, participate and communicate without major barriers. In doing so, they can claim their rights and influence the political and social structures around them,” she said.

She added that the role of the state is to facilitate an environment where citizens’ rights are respected and most of the people freely exercising their will to associate, assemble peacefully and express views and opinions.

Speaking to Nyasa Times in an interview, governance commentator  Makhumbo Munthali said it was reassuring  to hear from presidential advisor on civic space , saying it will be a big milestone in Malawi’s democracy if President Chakwera remains firm on that.

“We are coming from a background where presidents promise good ridings in terms of civic space but  do the oppositive, so we will be watching,” he said.

Munthali advises Kwataine to avoid following the bad examples of some of her predecessors  who were mobilising government sponsored CSOs to attack critics of the regime who were advancing the people’s interests.

“We don’t expect her office to be a conduit of Tonse government propaganda to suppress the voice of the voiceless,” said Munthali.

Chairperson of the CSOs and a citizens grouping advocating for good governance and respect for human rights known as the National Advocacy  platforms,  Benedicto Kondowe, observed that the civic space in Malawi has been fast shrinking.

He said engagement by civil society is a ‘threshold issue’, making it more likely that all human rights are guaranteed. Thus, the linkages between civil society and human rights work both ways.

Kondowe then called for support from international civil society to build the capacity of local civil society to empower them to demand and promote and protect civic space in the country.

“The NGO Act needs to be reviewed and amended to reflect the spirit of constitutionalism and there is need for a robust, responsive and inclusive NGO Policy that will address the challenges faced by CSOs,” he said

On his part, Citizen Alliance executive director Edward Chileka Banda  said the civic space should be beyond ordinary freedom of speech, with the results being realised from activism.

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Zio ine
Zio ine
1 month ago

Congratulations are in order so that she shuts her mouth. By the way do you know that the ministry of information under gospel Kadzako is one ministry which is gender insestive. All top positions from PS and director are all men. The ministry is very dull with Chenche as PS..the man does not deserve to head this ministry because he seems to be archaic when modern information require one to be conversant with ICT. I doubt even if Tcheche knows how to operate a computer and his only qualification is because he comes from central region.

guest
guest
1 month ago
Reply to  Zio ine

you are sounding as if you have personal issues against the PS whom you call Tcheche. mukuti his only qualification is because he comes from the Central region implying that he has been appointed chifukwa Chakwera ndi mchewa or from Central region, question is kod u PS munthuyo walandira liti??? its not like walowa kumene mu civil service munthuyo and u ps sanapasidwe ndi Chakwera

PP litete
PP litete
1 month ago

How many advisers 🙄

Charlie Chaplin
Charlie Chaplin
1 month ago

Surrounding himself at the State House with his village is neither here nor there; all he is looking at is his security. But at least he needs to strike a balance when it comes to filling other positions out of his residence. Was it not him and Chilima who cried foul, foaming in their mouths during campaigns that DPP was haphazardly appointing non-entities in crucial and important posts, that when they assume office they will reduce the presidential appointing powers, that posts would be filled after interviewing prospective candidates? Is this not the same song you said you won’t comfortably… Read more »

Nyakwawa che nyaxxy
Nyakwawa che nyaxxy
1 month ago

Tonse government a broad daylight money heist.

Hamza
Hamza
1 month ago

Martha didnt find MHEN. Ask Prof Admson Muula of CoM or John Kapito. Search before you vomit your trash in public

Mpakateni
1 month ago

Another pick from the central. Appointing a woman is deliberate to fool the people on gender balance. We will not look at the gender perspective, but regional balance. How many advisors from the Central Region have so far been appointed as compared to the South and North. Mind you the South has the largest population of Malawi. This is another goof made through trial and error.

guest
guest
1 month ago
Reply to  Mpakateni

kusankha ma advisor a president zimatengera kut president yo wakonda ndani, sangatengere kut amachokera kut..olo mfumu mmudzi ikamasankha anthu omuthandiza amasankha omwe iyeyo personally wawapanga trust and sitingafunse coz ma reason amakhala personal..olo uli iwe ukungoenera kusankha malinga ndizifukwa zili mmutu mwako and we cant ask u kut wasankhilanji mulangizi uyu

Kaude
Kaude
1 month ago

Stupid opportunist without any morals. Power and money hungry

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