Malawi turning into an ‘illiberal state’: Draft policy forbids foreign funding of CSOs

Civil society organisations (CSOs) fear arbitrary crackdowns on their finances and they are up in arms against certain clauses in the NGO draft policy which they feel if implemented would kill the CSOs.

Kondowe: Malawi tunring into an illeberal state

Benedicto Kondowe, who is leading a consortium of CSOs says a clause that forbids CSOs from getting foreign funding is undemocratic as it can kill some CSOs which depend on foreign funding.

He also said it was unrealistic for the government to confine all CSOs work to advocacy only, saying this can not work.

Kondowe also questioned the wisdom of forcing CSOs surrender all their money and equipment after a project ends to the communities the project was serving, saying this would make NGOs perpetually broke and be constant beggars.

“Imagine, they are saying even project vehicles should be surrendered, this is unheard of, may be they don’t want well equipped NGOs and CSOs,” he said.

NGOs focused on democracy-building or human rights are the most affected.

Kondowe, however, agreed there should be more transparency and accountability in the work of the NGOs and CSOs.

This comes at a time when some CSOs are receiving funding from State House.

The restrictions on overseas donations sit alongside a thriving civil society and is vewed as some measures of the government  restricting the action of NGOs.

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This proposed policy has close resemblance to what the Muluzi-adminstration did to the Danish financial support (popularly known as DANIDA). As a country we lost in many ways including eductation scholarships to Denmark. Please DPP stop this nosense of sounding as if Malawi can fund all its programs; compare this to relatively better African economies such as South Africa, Nigeria etc that still get foreign assistance. Shame on our corrupt and visionless leaders who celebrate while the country is cruising to a complete collapse in terms of the economic and governance indicators. Sadly, the leadership comprises people with titles that… Read more »
Dovan Trump


Wisdom Mwanza
As usual, everything in Malawi is seen through a political glass. When you have political leaders who are afraid of the unknown, you see bad policies like the one proposed here. All the government needs to do here is to make sure that the regulating body for the CSOs does its work properly, and that includes making sure the money is accounted for. For the government to stop foreign funding would mean admitting failure to properly regulating CSOs. Malawi is a poor country and it needs all the help it can get. As you have seen brothers and sisters, these… Read more »
Atusaye mwakabanga
Really NGOs,CSOs need to have a guiding light through drafting policies that will bring them into one umbrella to easily detect their movements,activities,implementations&achievements of projects that attract foreign funding.Some NGOs,CSOs run for personal gain they write a proposal as a bait to hook the most wanted dollars as funding to a ghost project while on the actual ground nothing exists.They personalise everything in the name of vulnerable people need humanitarian aid,human demographic rights,civic education,awareness campaign only to make sure money is in their pockets,some divert funds into political groupings in the name democratic governance,some still converts the foreign currency into… Read more »

The country’s needs forex and this stupid dpp govt for political reasons wants no foreign funding for our csos.

If the govt is responsible and accountable, no Cso would bother it. The country is the poorest, so we need whatever forex we can lay our hands on.

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