Centre for Human Rights and Rehabilitation (CHRR) is asking governing Democratic Progress Party (DPP) secretary general (SG) Greselder Jeffrey wa Jeffrey to apologise for rubbishing calls by Malawi Law Society (MLS)and other civil society organisations (CSOs) condemning donations by State enterprises in a fund-raising drive branded ‘Blue Night’ and demanded a refund to the agencies.
Wa Jeffrey called the calls condemning the manner in which DPP mobilised finances from government agencies, most of whom are financially struggling, as “zachamba [nonsense]” and a waste of time.
CHRR Executive Director Timothy Mtambo has called for withdrawal of arrogant remarks by the DPP leadership aimed at the CSOs over the saga.
Mtambo described the remarks as unfortunate and “far beneath the integrity of the ruling political party in a democratic Malawi”.
The CHRR has since called upon DPP to commit to genuine dialogue over the CSOs’ demands on the party to return the money it got from the Councils and other parastatals.
Speaking in an interview ahead of the Friday’s dialogue meeting between the two parties on the matter, said his organization, being one of the concerned CSOs, is expecting nothing short of a genuine dialogue founded on mutual respect with the DPP.
The other CSOs to participate at the forthcoming dialogue meeting with government include, Youth and Society, Human Rights Consultative Committee, Centre for Development of People and Church and Society of Livingstonia Synod.
Mtambo said much as government touts dialogue as way of addressing the citizens’ grievances, experience shows that government uses dialogue as a platform to silence critical voices and run away from accountability.
“If you may recall, the DPP preached the dialogue message during the NAC-gate issue in 2015 and 2016 Public Affairs Committee (PAC) conference recommendations but we realized that their call for dialogue with us was not in good faith. It was meant to silence us so that they keep sustaining a culture of impunity,” said Mtambo.
“We therefore, hope this time around government will take the dialogue meeting seriously and treat the concerned CSOs as well-meaning and patriotic citizens rather than enemies of the DPP or government.”
Mtambo, however, insisted that the forth-coming dialogue meeting will not change the CSOs’ stand that the DPP needs to return the money it got from Councils and parastatals.
“Malawi is a country of laws, and there is nowhere in the laws where public institutions are mandated to fund activities of a political grouping. This is why as CSOs, we will not compromise on our principal stand that the money be paid back and that those involved in giving the money to the DPP must be disciplined accordingly.
“Being a ruling political party, we expected the DPP to lead by example in staying from abusing public funds, but the message citizens are now getting out there is that DPP is bent on perpetuating cash-gate in the country,” he said.
Mtambo further feared that with such brazen abuse of public resources by the ruling party, it could be a tall order for the much-cherished Public Sector Reforms to bear fruits in the country.
On July 29 2017, DPP held a fundraising dinner and dance at Kamuzu Palace in Lilongwe where Blantyre City Council (BCC), Mzuzu City Council (MCC) and Lilongwe Water Board (LWB), among others, made financial contributions totaling K13.5 million.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :