President Laz draws more fire for omitting ‘Children’ in reconstituted ministry

Barely a few days after settling a clash with the NGO Gender Coordination Network (NGOGCN) over the missing of the word ‘gender’ in the Ministry of Community Development and Social Welfare, President Lazarus Chakwera seems to have drawn another flame of fire for omitting ‘children’ in name of the reconstituted ministry.

NGOCCR executive member Robert Mkwezalamba (right) stressing a point during the reading of the letter in Lilongwe on Saturday afternoon–Photo by Watipaso Mzungu, Nyasa Times
Malawi Human Rights Commission officer, Priscilla Thawe, stressing the need for a standalone Ministry of Children Development Affairs as Mhango (centre) and Mkwezalamba look on–Photo by Watipaso Mzungu, Nyasa Times
The cross section of journalists who attended the reading of the letter

This time, child focused non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in Malawi have written Chakwera, demanding the creation of a standalone ministry to tackle children’s affairs.

The concerned organisations, which are trading under the banner of NGO Coalition of Child Rights (NGOCCR) whose chairperson is Desmond Nyuma Mhango and Henry Machemba as its national coordinator, say they are concerned that the omission comes at a time when Malawians were expecting a fully-fledged Ministry of Child Development Affairs.

NGOCCR has therefore described failure by the Tonse Alliance administration to clearly define and demonstrate existence of children in the ministerial portfolios as the highest disregard by state leadership to promote the very fundamental principles and values of the rights of the child as conceived in the international and regional child rights instruments as well as the national legal and policy instruments.

“Various instruments require that Malawi, being a state party to the agreements, periodically reports to the global and regional enforcement Committees of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Children (UNCRC) and the African Union (AU) African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child (ACERWC), which places mandates on the civil society to equally submit Shadow or Alternative Reports in support of the State Party Reports.

“We, as NGO CCR express our utmost concern for the inconceivable omission of children in the announced package of ministerial portfolios. We are aware that previously children were acknowledged under the Ministry of Gender, Children, Disability and Social Welfare.

“The significance of integrating children in such a portfolio is that it allows government to sustain the prominence of children in its developmental and policy endeavours. This understanding is apparent that this appears not to be the case in your constituted Cabinet. As we write, it is not clear which ministry is responsible for child affairs which may dangerously be the case for years to come,” observes the coalition in the letter dated July 18 2020.

Mhango and Machemba have signed the letter alongside their executive members who include Benedicto Kondowe, Linda Harawa, Robert Mkwezalamba, Leon Matanda, George Jobe, Mike Banda and Alice Bwanausi.

They say as a network that works to contribute to promotion and protection of the human rights and welfare of children in Malawi, they are of the opinion that a strategic ministry is so central in formulating policies for children as well as in contributing towards the living of the Constitution that the President under section 88 (1) is obliged to defend and uphold.

However, NGOCCR recognizes that domestically, the Constitution of Malawi provides for rights of children in Chapter IV, section 23, and similar recognition appears in Chapter III of the same Constitution.

The coalition also appreciates the confirmed commitment of the state of the Republic of Malawi in its adoption of the global, regional and sub-regional child rights instruments as it appears in the Constitution of the Republic of Malawi, and the Case Law, and further as is provided in the Child Care Protection and Justice Act of 2010.

“But a number of policy instruments have resultantly been put in place by our government with objective intent to comply to the statutes and key to these policies is the National Children’ Policy of 2019. We, as NGO CCR, express our utmost concern for the inconceivable omission of children in the announced package of ministerial portfolios.

“We are aware that previously children were acknowledged under the Ministry of Gender, Children, Disability and Social Welfare. The significance of integrating Children in such a portfolio is that it allows government to sustain the prominence of children in its developmental and policy endeavours. This understanding is apparent that this appears not to be the case in your constituted Cabinet. As we write, it is not clear which ministry is responsible for child affairs which may dangerously be the case for years to come,” they say.

“Against the above backdrop, we wish to remind government that children form the largest constituency of the national population. Children are the most vulnerable persons in Malawi to all forms of risks, of actions and inaction that have historically left children devastated by tales of abuse, violence and neglect. Both our Constitution and the Child Care Protection and Justice Act make a mandatory call that the best interests and welfare of children should be a primary consideration in all decisions affecting them which by extension, it would include the decision to constitute a ministerial portfolio,” emphasizes the letter from NGOCCR,” adds the letter.

But the Minister of the reconstituted Gender, Community Development and Social Welfare portfolio, Patricia Kaliati, has stressed that her ministry will continue taking all responsibilities over the children as it has been the case over the years.

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monosile
monosile
7 months ago

Inu a NGO Gender Coordination Network, you are worried about Children ministry as if there is anyone who is concerned with children affairs, there was a ministry of Gender, children, Disability in past govt. can you tell me what this ministry did to children, children are being killed, harassed and tourchered under the watch of the ministry, a very good example is the issue of the year 2018 which Times TV is following now in the northern region where a 10 year child is said to have hanged himself mind you a ten year old boy but suspetions indicate that… Read more »

BigMan
BigMan
7 months ago

Whats in a name? These NGO’s need to grow up. All you need to know is that children’s affairs are handled in ministry x basi. Vuto la inu, when you are given an inch you start demanding a whole mile.

carlos winnert sadimba
carlos winnert sadimba
7 months ago

I see president akakhalanso okumva za anthu mumapezapo ma advamtage oti akusankheni u minister apo ndiye mwapala president pochepetsa ma undunawa amafuna kuti aleast asaononge ndalama zambiri and recently he has answered and considered children welfare but now your coming up kuti apange unduna wapaokha I think you organisations you have someone in the name of dpp to bring conflicts to our newly understanding president give us time not badden enough is enogh………..

Mangochi Kabwafu
Mangochi Kabwafu
7 months ago

Za ziiiii, zopusa basi.

Chimulirenji
Chimulirenji
7 months ago

Malawians, now this is just silly. The President already explained that the change in name does not mean issues like these are not addressed. At the rate we are going, we are going to be the ones standing in the way of the President’s vision, due to petty issues such as these.

msundwe
msundwe
7 months ago

Asatitopesetse awa kenako kubweranso ena akufuna ministry of Natural Resources atchulemo udzu ndi mitengo. Ma NGO alibe zopanga tsopano akungofuna azimveka kuti aziitanitsa ndalama kwa ma donors. Shupiti zanu

Masozi
Masozi
7 months ago

Laz is low energy, mr no idea, will be 5 long years of laissez-faire leadership. Everything he touches turns black

Kwenga mwazembo
Kwenga mwazembo
7 months ago
Reply to  Masozi

Kkkkkk laizzez faire indeed

Kaitano
Kaitano
7 months ago

Don’t think because it is Chakwera who is the President of this country then you should be on his neck for nothing, all of you, how old are you? You think we don’t know what you want? Stealing from the Government in the name of Children rights! Mwagwa nayo anyapapi inu! Patricia will take care of the children you are talking about! Fwetseke! Basi mwanamiza ana anu muli aaaaaa Boma likupangilani unduna wanuwanu! Hehehehe! Mulibe zimenezo!

Hola
Hola
7 months ago

I for one don’t understand why missing the word Children becomes an issue. We had the name in the previous ministry but what change did it bring. The funding for child affairs was so little at the same time remained at headquarters and abused. Children are suffering in Malawi yet have a department specific for them. Stop this nonsense you so called child rights organisation. You are the same people who are requesting funds to support children but just enriching yourselves.

Malawi walero
Malawi walero
7 months ago
Reply to  Hola

You dont know what you are saying Hola maybe you dont have kids thats why. You mean in your family if they can ask you that how many are you? Then just because some are still childrens then you will say you are 2 meaning you and your wife only? Stop politics of hateradge.

Hola
Hola
7 months ago
Reply to  Malawi walero

Useless claim

Kala
Kala
7 months ago
Reply to  Hola

Just waittt. Chakweraaaaaameneyoooo

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