The governing Democratic Progress Party (DPP) has been given seven days by civil society organisations to disclose to the public information about the money it received from State enterprises in a fund-raising drive branded ‘Blue Night’ or risk being dragged to court for illicit transactions irrational abuse of resources.
The ultimatum is contained in a letter the five civil society organisations campaigning for human rights and governance have written the governing party.
The organisations include Youth and Society (‘YAS’), Centre for the Development of People (‘CEDEP’), Church and Society Programme, Centre for Human Rights and Rehabilitation (‘CHRR’), and Human Rights Consultative Committee (HRCC), and have penned DPP through lawyer Wesley Mwafulirwa.
” The law requires that every public expenditure be authorized by a necessary Appropriation Act unless it is a statutory expenditure (see section 178 of the Constitution of the Republic of Malawi and section 23 of the Public Finance Management Act). As for expenditures by statutory corporations, section 76 of the Public Finance Management Act provides that funds held by statutory bodies must only be applied for the purposes specified in the relevant empowering Acts,” reads the letter.
Further, the CSOs argue that the resources belong to the public which has the right to information of how state resources are being (ab)used and they have the constitutional right to hold public officers to account.
“Section 37 of the Constitution provides for the right to access to information necessary for the exercise of human rights. Section 40 of the Constitution guarantees the right to make informed political choices. The right to make an informed political decision (or the right to vote) can only be meaningfully exercised if voters have access to information regarding the funding (including private funding) of political parties ,” reads the letter in part.
The CSOs through their lawyer warns DPP that their conduct is “criminal” in nature and violates Section 25B (2) of the Corrupt Practices Act proscribes against private citizens’ inducement of public officers to abuse their positions.
“We hope you are mindful of the resources’ constraints that most of these institutions are going through. It is also our strong legal opinion that transparency and accountability in issues of financing of political parties has a huge bearing on democratization and the incidental human rights issues that are strongly entrenched in our constitution as well as statutes.
“Further, some of the statutory corporations that allegedly made the donations are tasked with the statutory duty to provide the public with essential public services. For example, the City Assemblies provide health and educational services. The Water Boards provide water, the very source of life. Most of these public services’ providers are going through serious resources’ constraints. For so long, the public has been forced to accept mediocre service delivery because of lack of sufficient resources. (Examples of human rights under threat include: Right to life under section 16 of the Constitution, right to equality under section 20 of the Constitution, Right to a humane and dignified treatment, under section 19 of the Constitution, Right to development under section 30 of the Constitution, just to mention but a few examples),” the letter reads.
The CSOs argue that the donations that were made by the public bodies cannot legally and ethically be justified. And they demand the money be “refunded to the concerned bodies in full.”
If DPP will not do what the CSOs are demanding within seven days, the rights campaigner will commence legal proceedings against the ruling political party
Lawyer Mkandawire also stated that CSO’s may also explore the option of lobbying for the arrest and criminal prosecution of any members of your political party whose conduct had criminal elements.
Malawi Law Society and civil society organizations accused the DPP of committing one of the worst forms of misuse and abuse of public funds.
But DPP secretary general Wa Jeffrey rubbished the statements by MLS and other civil society organisations (CSOs) as “zachamba [nonsense]” and a waste of time.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :