SADC CSOs calls for depoliticisation of Malawi NGO Board

Some Civil Society groups, human rights defenders and lawyers working in the realm of human rights and governance in Southern Africa have called for depolitisization of Malawi NGO board.

Munthali: Made the presentation on behalf of CHRR

Munthali: Made the presentation on behalf SADC CSOs

The grouping made these observations during their submission at Forum on the Participation of NGOs in the 57th ordinary session of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights currently underway in Banjul, Gambia.

The grouping was represented by Malawi’s Centre for Human Rights and Rehabilitation (CHRR) Governance and Human Rights Advocacy Coordinator, Makhumbo Munthali during a panel discussion where focal points presenters were providing updates about the overview of the status of democracy and human rights in Africa with special focus on the situation of human rights defenders in Africa.

“We have also observed with great concern the recent steps and attempts by the Malawi government to stifle and limit the voice and space of Civil Society using a number of ways,” Munthali said.

He said Malawi government is using the politically-appointed Special Presidential Advisor on NGOs and Civil Society, Mabvuto Bamusi, to destabilize the Civil Society through “divide and rule,” by amongst other things mobilizing and funding some NGOs sympathetic to the ruling party to always rise up and counter any critical voices from the “bonafide” CSOs on human rights violations, poor service delivery, and bad governance.

According to SADC CSOs, this is contrary to Malawi government’s commitment to the African Charter and other international human rights instruments which encourage the state party to provide an enabling and conducive socio, political, economic and legal environment for the activities of the Civil Society and human rights defenders.

The statement further faults the politicization of the Malawi NGO board and the National Intelligence Bureau (NIB) as Mutharika’s tools against restricting and suppressing the Civil Society space as well as instilling fear in human rights defenders who are seen as critical of government

“We have observed the use of the NGO board and NGO law to threaten the Civil Society and also restrict the activities of Non-governmental organizations especially those deemed critical of government. A good case is that of the NGO board and the Minister of Gender’s threats that they would deregister those NGOs who did not register with the NGO board despite the fact that registering with the NGO board is not mandatory under Malawi laws. However, the real targets in these baseless threats were some NGOs who had participated in a 13th January 2015 national demonstrations over the crisis state of governance, rule of law, accountability, transparency, human rights and abuse of HIV/AIDs related funds for activities that had nothing to do with HIV/AIDs initiatives,” argued Munthali.

According to Munthali, the SADC CSOs had observed with continued use of the NIB as a political tool to spy on and instil fear in human rights defenders and other critics of the government including the opposition leaders.

He cited NIB’s leaked controversial intelligence report implicating critics of the regime as conspiring to overthrow the government as a typical reminiscent of Malawi’s one-party dictatorial rule.

The CSOs urge the African Commission on Human and Peoples Rights to call on Malawi government to depoliticize the NGO board, National Intelligence Bureau and the office of the Special Advisor on NGOs and Civil Society as state agents of suppressing the voice and restricting the space of Civil Society in Malawi.

“We also urge the Commission on Human and Peoples Rights to urge the Malawi government to honour its commitments to the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights and other international instruments which it is party to by providing protection to human rights defenders and providing a conducive and enabling political, social, economic and legal environment for the work of human rights defenders and civil society in Malawi.”

The statement also condemns human rights violations in Angola, Lesotho, South Africa, Mozambique and Swaziland. The statement also calls for the reinstatement of the SADC Tribunal.

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Bamusi is a she goat and Pitala ndi amene amachitanaye mathanyula.

James kotoki

Shoot to kill has its own consequences.thugs also shoot to kill those who shoot to kill them.

James kotoki

@ comment number 12 you have to be very careful with what you say.Yes Bingu killed those 20 tumbukas in That fateful month of July and that was what took his life as well.Where is he now?

George Kamanga
Alomwe you think you have grown wings that you own Malawi. Bingu indeed killed those Malawians for he was a criminal and was after to protect the stolen cash which he was hiding in the grave at ndata farm. Every criminal behave in that way. If people disturb a criminal while doing his evil business what he does is evil by eliminating those who disturb his evil actions. Bingu was a great criminal in the name of a president. But God always in His Mercies fight for the voiceless. Being s criminal bingu died like a dog killed by toddlers… Read more »
Dr Haswel P Bandawe
Let me respectfully disagree with the tone and content of the comments from other esteemed readers. 1. To begin with, it would be informative to rebut the issues that the NGOs are raising point by point. Failure to do so does not help other readers to understand the pros and cons of what is at stake. 2. Let us distinguish between a government and a country. Governments come and go, the country remains. If I understand it, the NGOs are criticizing what they perceive to be human rights restrictive activities of the current Government, therefore, a dialogue (Directly or through… Read more »
APM's special advisor on gondolosi and nsatsi

A kent Mphepo kukonza kapansi kumeneko? Ai limbikilani mwina APM angakuganizileni.

Donald Flywell Malanga
Donald Flywell Malanga

The watchdogs of government have become watchrats of government. kkkkkk Come on Bogus Malawi CSOS.
You are busy defending your pot bellies.You mollons. You are really Human left defenders.


Atumbuka inu mwandikwana mwamva. Mukumakanyera mabodza amenewa kunja mukatero nyominyomi kumabweleranso kuno. Tithana nanu aphwanga. Azungu anatinyanyala kalekale ndiye palibenso chomadyolera.

Why is the government not solving these guys? Should we be hearing this nonsence everyday from cedep and chrr? Why is this government too slow in solving problems?.they are just few. What they think everyday is denting the image of this government. Bwana president it takes brave leaders to fix problems. Why can the whole government just watch Mtambo and his homeboys destroying this government which we painfully voted into power? It took Bingu to kill those witch demonstrators to stabilise the nonsense of demonstrations, since then demonstrations are of no value nowadays. I cry for my brave president. Be… Read more »

These guys are fast becoming a drama group coming up with nonsense all the time.why do you like tanishing the image of your country?all this for your personal interests,what a load of rubbish

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