Malawi VP Chilima cautions CSOs against ‘ideology hypocrisy’

State Vice President Dr Saulos Klaus Chilima has expressed gratitude at the cordial relationship between government and the Civil Societ yOrganisations (CSOs) but urged the watchdogs to “shift away from ideology hypocrisy where you advocate for one thing and act differently.”

Chilima interacts with UNDP envoy Mia Seppo and head of DfID Malawi.-Photo by Govati Nyirenda, Nyasa Times
Malawi VP Chilima greets Norwegian ambassador Kikkan Haugen.-Photo by Govati Nyrenda, Mana
Chilima view displays of Tilitonse Fund .-Photo by Govati Nyirenda, Mana

The  Vice President was speaking in Lilongwe Wednesday when he opened a high level review conference of a multi donor funded governance program called Tilitonse Fund.

The Tilitonse Fund has been running for six years focusing on issues of governance and citizen empowerment, with the Kafantayeniproject being one of its flagship success stories where tens of death row inmates have had their sentences commuted to life while others released.

Chilima urged the Civil Society leadership at the conference to use the opportunity to reflect on the role the watchdogs play towards consolidating good governance and development in the country.

The advocacy of empowerment and delegation is very powerful and well placed. However, we need to remember that empowerment or delegation comes with responsibility and accountability,” advised Chilima.

To this effect, the Vice President said he had a few issues to leave on the table for the Civil Society to reflect on and see if they have been able to foster or impede governance and development. 

“First, when the Malawi Housing Corporation (MHC) raises its rentals and then there is resistance which side do you take? Defend the tenants or help government to communicate that for MHC to effectively deliver its mandate it needs to charge cost-reflective rates?

He also gave an example of some positions  in the public service that have become obsolete that otherwise the position holders needed to be laid off yesterday. 

In that case do you advocate for their dismissal or protect such position holders from an economic point of view,” he queried.

Chilima also urged the civil society to take a leading role in communicating to the masses that although change hurts but real change was the only way out to meaningful development.

We must develop a culture that lauds results, performance, accountability, efficiency, ethics and integrity. We must change the way we do things particularly in the public service. We are doing good but we can do better,” he said, adding;Change means asking tough questions and getting not-so-pleasant answers: Do we needmany principal secretaries in the public service? Do we need so many drivers? 

Can some public officers explain how they amassed so much wealth against their known legitimate income? Should Malawi Housing Corporation be stopped from raising the rentals of its property? Tough questions and tough answers will begin to take us forward,” he said.

Earlier, Justice and Constitutional Affairs Minister Samuel Tembenu hailed TilitonsFund and the judiciary for what he called swift, efficient and effective and handling of the Kafantayeni project that managed to set free over 100 inmates destined for hanging. 

The Minister however urged the civil society to be countable to donor funds just like they call for accountability from the executive.

Several high local and international high level delegates attended the conference including Jen Marshal head of DFID Malawi and Kikkan Haugen Norwegian Ambassador to Malawi. 

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