Diaspora umbrella body for Malawians living the UK, Malawi Association UK (MAUK) has elected a new set of officials to momentarily govern its affairs for the next six months following a hotly contested stormy and temper-flying annual general meeting (AGM) event held Saturday afternoon.
There was total rage and disarray as the majority of the attendees were demanding that the former executive led by Leicester-based Martin Guga be dissolved and that the elections must be annulled claiming the process leading to the polls were flawed and falsified.
Many people at the AGM were raging with fury and appeared displeased with the old executive team accusing them of playing hide and seek on the matters involving financial reports and the electoral process irritably complaining that the MAUK executive members were not transparent and honest enough or that they were very economical with the truth.
Former MAUK chair chairperson Martin Guga was at pains trying to explain the problems that the old executive team were facing to which the majority of the people refused to agree with and subscribe to.
Former MAUK Secretary General, who also doubled as Treasure General and also the chief executive of the Malawi Achievers Awards (MAA) a project run by the association, Stepson Mbewe did not attend the annual general meeting therefore there was nobody to give a tangible explanation on the financial status quo of the organisation, an act that contravenes the rules and regulations of the UK Charity commission.
‘Half-baked financial reports’
Malawi Association UK member of the board of trustees, Pastor Edgar Chibaka told the people who thronged the venue to demand accountability from the outgoing committee: “We must admit that there are serious problems at the Malawi Association UK and today we need to try and sort the problems by not creating more problems.”
Blurted Chibaka: “The reports presented (to the AGM ) are half-baked and unverified. The financial report is shabbily done and does not contain any information worth any salt. Who verified these financial reports? How authentic and legally-binding are these documents?”
Pastor Chibaka, who emphasized that MAUK stakeholder lacked inclusivity, then suggested to the assembly that the old committee be dissolved with immediate effect and that as a remedial measure, a set of new people be appointed to oversee the problem-solving process in readiness to conducting credible elections in the next six months.
Chaos ensured. Tempers flared and the majority of the delegates supported Pastor Chibaka’s direction while others insisted that elections be held but in the end the majority ruled and carried the day.
However, after repeated calls for calm and soberness, delegates agreed to dissolve the old committee and set up a new interim executive committee tasked to ‘clean the mess’ and prepare the organisation for new office bearers.
In line with the dictates of MAUK’s constitution, which on the day became under heavy attack and described as outdated and needing ‘a complete overhaul,’ all regional chapter Malawi associations’ chairpersons automatically assumed the role of executive members.
Regional and chapter associations represented at the meeting included Manchester, Derby, Nottingham, Leicester, Daughters of Nyasa Coventry and Essex.
From the group of people tasked to move MAUK forward, Manchester-based entrepreneur and renowned DJ Hannington Gondwe was selected to be the new team’s ad hoc chairperson while Coventry-based Lizzie Kunje- Mallock was appointed as General Secretary and Saidi Phiri form Manchester was entrusted as the association’s Treasure General.
Other members appointed to take MAUK out of the muddy waters are; Nottingham based Elizabeth Chikoleka – Makossah, Leeds-based Howard Sichinga, Connex Banda from Coventry and Gertrude Banda from Essex among others.
‘Not just for the few’
Emmanuel Chilemba, a Project Quantity Surveyor at ExtraCare Charitable remarked after the meeting: “We can now categorically say that Malawi Association UK is now back in full force and to her vital position in the affairs of Malawians needs and aspirations.”
Added Chilemba: “We are happy that everything has gone well. The event was full of emotions but then that is how things should be, where we see that things are not going well, we need to change. MAUK belongs to all Malawians and not just a selected few.”
Chilemba then urged all the stakeholders and all the Malawians living in the UK to come together in unity to move the organisation to the next level.
In his brief acceptance speech, Hannington Gondwe said: “I would like congratulate everyone here for standing up for democratic principles.”
The new chairperson also thanked the Malawi High Commissioner to London for sending an official for taking time out to observe the event.
“On behalf of the newly appointed new interim executive committee and the Board of Trustees, Pastor Chibaka and our legal advisor, Counsel Batson Divala, I would like thank everyone for giving us the opportunity to serve you and the interests of our beautiful country Malawi,” he said.
“We will endeavour to do our best in taking Malawi Association UK forward but to do that we will need your support.” added Gondwe who is also popularly known as Hannie G. “We would like to work with everyone and make Malawi prouder.”
Gondwe however thanked the former chairperson Guga and his team for their hard work and for dedicating their time towards MAUK.
MAUK had been embroiled in a ‘trust issues crisis’ with many Malawians in the UK complaining that the UK Malawian umbrella charity body belonged to a few individuals.
Saturday’s general assembly could rightly be described as a step in the right direction for the successful culmination of efforts to re-establish trust, peace and harmony between UK diaspora Malawians and the Malawi Association UK.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :