Parliament passes NGO Bill despite court injunction

Members of Parliament have passed the Non-Governmental Organisations (NGO) Amendment Bill which, among others, seeks to give the NGO Board the mandate to register and regulate NGOs.
However, some civil rights activists say this is in contempt of court because there is an injunction restraining parliament from proceeding with the Bill.

Bright Msaka
But the new law, which becomes effective after President Lazarus Chakwera assents to it, says the Council for Non-Governmental Organisations in Malawi will be a collection of NGOs that will be regulated by the board, according to the Bill.
Democratic Progressive Party spokesperson on legal matters in Parliament, Bright Msaka, United Democratic Front’s Lilian Patel have spoken in support of the Bill, which they say will also enhance accountability on how the NGOs use their funds.
Msaka said for, example, there have been reports of some NGOs buying a 50 kilogramme bag of maize at K40,000 and a goat at over K100,000.
But three organisations in the name of youth and society, centre for the development of people and centre for human rights and rehabilitation sought the courts intervention against the tabling of the amendments on grounds that proper consultations were not made.
However, the bill is appeared on parliament order paper despite the court granting an injunction against the same pending a judicial review.
Meanwhile, the three organisations through their lawyer have penned the attorney general that parliament risks to be in contempt of court if it proceeds to table the bill.
Charles Kajoloweka, executive director of Youth and Society has asked parliament to be exemplary in observing the law and respect the courts determination on the matter.

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