Civil society organizations (CSOs) and actors under the banner of National Advocacy Platform (NAP) has given President Lazarus Chakwera’s Tonse Alliance administration a poor rating, accusing the leadership of entrenchingthe same governance shortfalls it promised to address at the height of the campaign for the June 23, 2020, Fresh Presidential Election.
The CSOs have observed that there is continued lack of accountability and transparency in management of public resources/financial accountability, heightening corruption and fraud and mis-procurements and abuse of public resources.
NAP chairperson Benedicto Kondowe made the sentiments during a press briefing held in Lilongwe on Tuesday. The briefing was organized to give out its stand on the performance of the Tonse government for the 245 days it has been in power.
During the briefing, Kondowe was flanked by NAP executive members Leon Matanda, Barbara Banda of NGO-GCN, Stellabella Chikombole of Public Affairs Committee (PAC), Desmond Mhango of the Centre for Youth and Children Affairs (CEYCA) and Edward Chileka-Banda of Citizen Alliance.
They said while it is a common knowledge that majority of Malawians voted for President Lazarus Chakwera and his Second-in-Command, Saulosi Chilima on the promise they made to end corruption and bad governance, it is clear that the Tonse government has let corruption and bad governance to flourish unabated.
They cited citing the recent K6.2 billion Covid-19 funds saga, unresolved reports of fraud at NOCMA, Crossroads Hotel saga, and bribe reports involving Ministry of Mines officials.
The NAP members stressed that these examples point to the very open fact that corruption has remained intact and could even be worsening under the new administration.
“It is commendable that the President has taken action on the Covid-19 corruption scandal by suspending controlling officers and ordering a financial inquest. However, it is also worrisome that some traits of selective justice continue to nurtured. Ministers and other senior controllers have not been cautioned yet.
“While the government is seen to be taking tough stance against corruption suspects, fraud cases involving those connected to the administration including Ministers and advisors tend to be avoided with no explanations given. The financial and control systems remain weak and porous,” said Kondowe.
He said Malawians have also noted with concerns a repeat and continuation of negative governance trends within the eight-months period of the Tonse Administration, which he said must be checked and corrected immediately.
“Citizens and civil society organizations have, for long, openly expressed their aspirations and expectations for incoming administrations including the Tonse Administration. NAP issued a Communique in June 2020 and submitted a CSO Grand Petition 2020 to the new administration through the Office of the President and Cabinet (OPC) as advisory note to inform the administration’s priorities and make it aware of outstanding governance and human rights issues that need redress. More CSOs and citizen groups continue to raise concerns and make submissions to the government.
“However, it appears the Tonse Administration is too pre-occupied to engage the civil society (CSOs and Citizens) on continued frustrations and disappointments over challenges facing of many Malawians who have craved for change for so long,” narrated Kondowe.
On the other hand, Barbara Banda stated that the increased protests and demonstrations many CSOs and citizen groups continue to hold point to one thing: government is taking too long or doing little to address social-economic challenges facing its people.
She said of greater concerns to the civil society and citizens at large are the negative signals and outstanding threats to democracy that have continued to this date, 245 days into the new administration, contrary to the general expectations from the people over the new administration.
Banda also wondered why it was taking the Tonse government ages to clear a corrupt culture within the public sector and rest the button.
“Reports of corrupt practices and numerous reversals of tenders is evidence that the administration is taking its time to act decisively on rebuilding the accountability systems,” she said.
There are troubling signs that the Tonse Alliance administration – ushered into office through the court-ordered Fresh Presidential Election held on June 23 2020, is on course to betray the trust of Malawians.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :