The flagship national weekly, Malawi News has queried government’s recent accusations of civil society leaders for reporting abuse of National Aids Commission (NAC) to Global Fund, arguing that before blaming others as being unpatriotic, the government should examine the actions of those who dined and wined on the account of Aids/HIV money and consider whether they are true patriots or not.
Minister of Information Kondwani Nankhumwa and Minister of Health Jean Kalilani recently accused CSO leader under the anti-NAGATE banner for reporting the diverting of NAC funding to entities that do not directly deal with HIV/AIDS intervention solely based on political manipulation or abuse in NAC’s HIV/AIDS grant decision making processes to Global Fund describing them as lacking patriotism.
“Instead of rushing with negative issues to donors, it was vital for aggrieved parties to first opt for domestic dialogue. The spirit of persuading donors to pull out their support in cases of perceived funds abuse is counterproductive and bites the poor Malawians the most,” Kalilani is quoted as saying.
“ When we went to Geneva recently, we found a pile of documents from Malawi to the Global Fund. The documents were aimed at casting a dark picture of the country so that the fund could stop assisting us. Why should right-thinking Malawians be at the forefront asking Global Fund to suspend its support for us. Let us be positive. Let us be patriotic,” Kalilani said.
However, in its editorial comment , Malawi News of February 28th 2015, called on government to soberly examine in the whole NACGATE saga to gauge who was a true patriot.
“A word to the two ministers: Before blaming others as being unpatriotic, they should examine the actions of those who dined and wined on the account of Aids/HIV money and consider whether they are true patriots because to us they were not. We know who a true Malawian patriot is,” reads the Comment.
While quoting a dictionary meaning of a Patriot as a person who defends and loves his or her country, The Malawi News editorial standpoint argue that before pointing fingers at CSOs, the two ministers should scour their conscience to gauge whether the DPP government and its NAC have been patriotic.
“Is using money meant to save lives of people living with HIV/AIDS from NAC to wine and dine patriotic? Does using the fund to dance and jive in a cultural jamboree for a grouping that the President belongs to a true show of patriotism?”
The editorial comment further dismissed the Ministers talk that the CSOs rebuffed calls for dialogue.
“The two ministers talk of dialogue. But which dialogue is this because we remember clearly that CSOs called on Mlakho and the First Lady’s trust to return the money and this was met with utmost arrogance and rudeness by officials such Mr Mabvuto Bamusi and Dr Collins Magalasi. They insisted that come rain or sunshine, the money cannot be returned,” reads the editorial.
At least 22 Civil Society Organisations staged nationwide demonstrations on 13th January 2015 in protest over diverting of NAC funding to entities that do not directly deal with HIV/AIDS intervention solely based on political manipulation or abuse in NAC’s HIV/AIDS grant decision making processes and deteriorating state of governance, rule of law and human rights.
According to the petition directed to the President of Malawi, the CSOs demanded government to desist from politically abusing the public institutions, resources and funds for purposes which are contrary to their mandates and not in the best interest of Malawians; the President to dissolve the board of NAC and institute a forensic audit of NAC disbursement of AIDS funds since the time NAC was granted the principle recipient of HIV/AIDS related funds by Global fund and put in place clear steps to ensure that National Aids Commission is no longer susceptible to political abuse and interference,
The petition also called on the President to condemn NACGATE and provide assurance to the nation that this shall never happen again in future; initiate the review of NAC policy and procedures on fund disbursement; and also ensure that First Lady’s Beautify Malawi (BEAM) and Mulhakho Wa Alhomwe should refund K5million and K9.4 million respectively to National Aids Commission (NAC) to be used for its intended HIV/AIDS response functions.
Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :