The Malawi Civil Society Led Black Economic Empowerment Movement (MaBLEM) taskforce has expressed concern over what it describes as the deliberate fragmentation of the Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) and Non Governmental Organisations (NGOs) community in the country, saying the development is making the CSOs and NGOs lose focus.
CSOs and NGOs are currently coming together to form networks and forums, initiatives they say are helping them serve people even much better.
Notable among the networks and forums are the Joint Civil Society Platform on Health and the Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC).
Some of these forums and networks have crashed or disagreed over issues in apparent manoeuvres to outsmart each other.
For instance, HRDC wrote the Global Fund recently disapproving the appointment of President Peter Mutharika as the Champion of the Fund’s 6th Replenishment Campaign.
But the Joint Civil Society Platform on Health disputed HRDC’s claims in another letter it also wrote to the Global Fund.
This brought gross misunderstandings and suspicions among Malawians.
MaBLEM, itself a forum of local CSOs and NGOs, says it is high time organisations refocus on their original mandates and work together towards improving the lives of the people of Malawi.
In a statement signed by its Chairman Robert Mkwezalamba and Coordinator Fryson Chodzi, the taskforce emphasizes that there is strength in unity.
“It is clear that some CSOs are deemed to be supporting the government with the other obvious group, believably supporting the agenda of the opposition. But when all these are given the platform, they claim their actions are on behalf of the people of Malawi,” reads the statement.
It continues, “Our strong belief and conviction is that it takes a wise counsel to criticise or condemn when the duty bearers are not doing the right things and reward or commend them for doing what is rightfully demanded of them by the citizenry.
“It is therefore counter good governance advocacy strategy to label either activists or advocates as being pro opposition or pro ruling government”.
According to MaBLEM, a progressive NGO or CSO should be able to use both strategies to advance and communicate its agenda.
But the taskforce notes that deeming such actions as divisions and classifications by NGO Leaders has promoted a culture of non-consultation or sharing of both information and support.
“This has made the CSO space shrunk as the society is able to identify those nosiest leaders of organs as opposed to appreciating the gains either structure is making in their interests,” adds the statement.
With the HDRC unrelenting towards holding another demonstration on 7 September, MaBLEM says dialogue with the government and governance bodies is key towards solving Malawi’s woes.
Apparently, HRDC is not impressed with the authorities response to demands as presented in the ten point petition after mass protests early this year.
“We are questioning the wisdom behind positions where leaders openly denounce dialogue and engaging with the Government over issues of national
interest, yet they expect feedback from the same Government”.
“As human rights defenders, we should be the first ones to acknowledge that every person or institution has the right to be heard. We should also be the first to note that any challenges in Malawi can be solved through dialogue and engagement.
“When we do not want that, then we are portraying that our interest is not to change Malawi but rather to cause chaos and anarchy,” says the MaBLEM statement.
Commenting on the issues, HRDC chairperson Timothy Mtambo claimed that engaging the current egime in dialogue has proved fruitless.
“We tried on July 20 2011 to dialogue but it never worked , National Aids Commion gate nothing worked, Blue Night issue dialogue never worked, on the K4 billion and PAC has tried dialogue initiatives but they have never worked,” he said.
Political analyst from University of Livingstonia, George Phiri said the feud among CSOs indicates of lack of objectivity on how much politics has penetrated into their work.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :