Malawi government wants to remove regulation powers of Council for Non-governmental Organization in Malawi (Congoma) the draft NGO policy has indicated as stakeholders want government to factor in some clauses which will enable the independence of the NGO Board of Malawi.
Among others, government is proposing to allocate all the powers to register, deregister, regulate and monitor activities for civil society organizations in the country in the hands of the NGO Board only unlike in the past when Congoma had a say in terms of registration, regulating and coordinating NGOs activities.
The draft policy also directs that the disposal of assets belonging to NGOs at the end of each project should be done through the NGO Board and not otherwise.
However, this has not gone will with some sections as some fear that the move will render Congoma useless as all its powers will be taken away.
“It seems the framers of the policy want to get rid of Congoma as in the past, it used to act as an arbitrator between NGOs and government in the events of disagreements,” said CSO Chairperson Aggrey Mfune.
Principal Social Welfare Officer in the Ministry of Gender Dominic Misomali dismissed the fears saying government wants to put in place a policy that will be working alongside the law.
“We made a mistake to come up with a law before a policy document. We want to bring sanity in the way NGOs are operating to make sure that local people are benefiting from their services,” he said.
NGO Board is currently perceived by many stakeholders as a political arm for persecuting the works of Non Governmental Organisations in the county.
Council for Non Governmental Organisation (CONGOMA) Board Chair Macbain Mkandawire, in an interview appeals that NGO Board of Malawi should be independent in execution of its mandate and accuse NGO Board of lacking transparency.
“Most NGOs are uncomfortable with NGO Board being given the mandate to regulate NGOs in the country,” said Mkandawire.
On the proposal of surrendering assets to NGO Board after completion of the projects, CONGOMA Board chair said that should not be included as in principle such assets are supposed to be in the hands of an NGO’s trustees when such NGO is dissolved.
Dr Mary Shaba, who is chairperson of the steering committee on the formulation of the policy, says there is no need for Malawians to worry saying the policy will help NGOs to be well regulated and harmonised.
“For example as Government we will be able to know which NGO is working where, their constitution, their working areas since all will now be registered,” Said Dr Shaba.
NGO-Board Chair, Abgail Dzimazi, urged Mkandawire to channel all concerns through the steering committee on the formulation of the policy or through the technical committee.
Happy Kayuni, a University of Malawi lecturer and one of the architects of the policy said the document will help promote accountability and transparency amongst the NGOs in Malawi.
Just a few weeks ago, NGO Board vice chairman Maziko Matemba warned all NGOs not registered with the board will be struck off but this was challenged by other lawyers who say the NGO Board has no legal mandate to do so.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :