Malawi ‘waging war on civil society’:  NGO Bill harbours grave consequences for the people

Regional human rights defenders have  accused Malawi government’s attempts to close down human rights NGOs through its draconian proposed Billthat regulates the work of non-governmental organisations (NGOs).

Mtambo: The proposed legislation will be far-reaching with grave consequence for ordinary people

The proposed amendment  gives the government sweeping powers to interfere with the operations of any NGO in Malawi through a government-appointed sole regulatory authority with the power to fine and deregister non-compliant organisations .

The Bill seeks amendment to the NGO Act  to repeal legal functions of the Council for NGOs in Malawi (Congoma) and upgrade  the NGO Board into government-appointed regulatory body.

Human rights groups and activists in the country and the  rest of the Southern Africa  have observed that the proposed legislation is sign of a growing crackdown on dissent against government.

Southern Africa Human Rights Defenders Network  chairperson Arnold Tsunga argue that legislation  makes it harder for charities to operate and seen as a measure for government  “waging war on the civil society.”

He said any legislation governing the operation of NGOs must be consistent with Malawi’s human rights obligations.

Tsunga saidthe law would also enable the government to intervene in the reasonable activities of NGO.

Malawi’s Human Rights Defenders Coalition Timothy Mtambo also expressed concern with the proposed law , saying it would place each and every NGO “at the whim of the government.”

Mtambo said  a vibrant civil society is “essential to a functioning democracy.”

“This is an effort to shrink citizen’s voice to demand accountability from the government, this is a repressive law that is against the constitutional and international best practices of NGO laws,” said Mtambo.

Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs Samuel Tembenu, defended the Bill, saying  government is not targeting anyone that the proposed legislation  had been drafted  after consultations

Tembenu said the law reform which prescribed fines of up to K15  million for non-compliant  NGOs , would make CSOs accountable to Malawians.

“They do things in the name of Malawians, so we want them to account for that,” he said.

Attorney General Kalekeni Kaphale in the published bill on Malawi government Gazaette said the law  seeks to amend the NGO Act “by promoting freedom of association as enshirened in Section 32 of the Constitution, removing the requirement for mandatory double registration; and enhancing the role of NGO Board in the oversight and regulation of NGOs in Malawi.”

The bill is expetced to be discussed during the next Parliament meeting scheduled for Monday.

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Guest

You are out of topic this topic has nothing to do with regionalism sometimes it buffles me to see a very tiny country with only one race yet pointing each other fingers where one is coming from what a shame! So its OK for a Southerner to cross to center region but for a northerner to cross to south or center its a problem. I remember some few years ago Kaliati was castigating Honourable Goodall Gondwe for building his mansion in Lilongwe why not build it in Mzuzu. What about her she is no better than Gondwe she also built… Read more »

Hmm
Guest
Hmm

Stopping tribalism and regionalism should start in you. In your comment you address a northerner, G. Gondwe as honourable and a southerner, Kaliati. Yet Kaliati is an MP and G. Gondwe is not. How come Gondwe is honourable and Partricia Kaliati is not? Gondwe has an appointed position while P. K. was elected by Malawians. Who is supposed to be called honorable between these two?

Heavyduty
Guest
Heavyduty

Am also puzzled with these gays, is it not you who demands accontability from government and you don’t want to be accountable yourself? Shame on you both gays and guys. To me I think both the government has to be accountable to Malawians and you too since you get funding in the name of of Malawians, you have to be accountable.

Fam
Guest
Fam

Mtambo and your wife Tapence and your son Kajoloweka, you claim to act on behalf of Malawians. And just like in any other democracy world over we, Malawians, demand accountability from you. And this is what the law requires you to do, to be accountable to us, Malawians. Where is the problem here? Penapake tiyeni tizisiya ndale ndikukonza dzikoli. Ife sitimadya ndaletu ayi. So we don’t care who you ask to comment on this law on your behalf. This is Malawi. What Malawians need is to see everyone (NGOs and all the three government arms and institutions inclusive) who claims… Read more »

KAMUZU
Guest

Can someone school me. Why is it that most NGO are championed and headed by Northerners!? Alibe chochita or what. Mwatikwana

Bystander
Guest
Bystander

It’s a good observation. I have worked with NGOs local and international. If non northerner works for an NGO, the boss, who usually is a northerner will make sure you leave. They will say there’s no funding for your position, or any other excuse. Surprisingly soon after you are gone, they will employ a home fellow for the same position. If you’re good at your job, they give you a northerner who knows nothing and ask you to train him/her. As soon as that person had mastered the job, yours is the chop. And this is the trend in all… Read more »

Telon
Guest

Is it not that you feel inferior to Northerners when it comes to intellectual application. The problem with you, yes YOU, is that you don’t have creative mind apart from being overpopulated. The only thing you are too good at is kuswana. A big population with less brains is a liability to any state, and one characteristic of a liability is to lay blame on those who are creative. Have you ever wondered why all strategic positions in government, which is a public institution unlike NGOS, are held by Lomwes?

josemapem
Guest
josemapem

Nzeru zake ziti? kuloweza basi? The correlation coefficient between region of origin and intellectual capability is zero.

Ndikukodzela Kwambiri
Guest

Where are you as of now? This end is populated because most of u moved from the North down here, so no wonder ku mpoto kuli anthu ochepa. Have I taught somebody? Komano mungosiya zosankhana, we are all Malawians. Timaopatu enafe kufika mma ofesi tikangomva kuti s/he’s from the north. Eish!

Kaka
Guest
Kaka

Stupid northenors who claim to intelligent

Bystander
Guest
Bystander

It’s not that northerners are intelligent. By far. Being a minority they are good at protecting their very existence and survival. They practice tribalism in offices to the extreme and without shame. Talking of overpopulation. When they come down from the north to find opportunity in the centre and south, where do they populate? In the South and Centre. When they retire do they go home? No. They settle here. They invest here and not back home. Then they turn around and complain about lack of development back home. They very good at pampering bad leadership in order to get… Read more »

Telon
Guest

What a myopic observation from fools,less thinking ( only those who have made negative comments about Northerners) creatures. You find Northerners in the South or Central regions in cities not villages. Come to the North and see how many people , due to lack of farming land in their homes, have settled in the North? They have even finished our forests due to charcoal trade. Please come up North and see for yourself how many of your kinsmen have settled here. Almost 30% of people in the North are from the South and Central regions. You only look at Northerners… Read more »

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