A grouping of 30 Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) under the banner of Civil Society Platform for Constructive Dialogue (CSP-CD) have accused the Public Affairs Committee (Pac) of being against government but providing no solutions to the country’s socio-political environment.
The NGOs, who have mostly been deemed pro-Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) government, have made the remarks ahead of the 5th All–Inclusive Stakeholders Pac Conference beginning Wednesday in Blantyre.
Peter Mulomole referred the said NGO and CSO leaders to the committee’s record.
The grouping has gone on to attack the donor community for contributing towards the political and economic mess Malawi is going through.
The NGOs include: Eye of the Child, Centre for Religious and Public Affairs, National Women’s Lobby Group, Human Rights Consultative Committee, Malawi Watch, Centre for Children Affairs, and Citizen Alliance.
Chairperson for the CSP-CD and Deputy Country Director f o r Centre for Children Affairs, Olive Nakoma, urged the religious body to show responsibility and leadership as they exercise their rightful mandate.
“We pray that Pac will not allow partisan and narrow interest to hijack the process or indeed allow any divisive elements to overshadow the noble pursuit for solutions to our common challenges,” said Nakoma.
Eye of the Child, Executive Director, Maxwell Matewere, urged the donor community to stop subjecting Malawians to torture by giving new benchmarks for their resumption of budgetary support to Malawi.
“In the first place the donors said government should deal with the roots of Cashgate and prosecute perpetrators. We are of the view that government has done better considering the number of suspects that have been convicted and the money and properties that have been recovered,” said Matewere.
He said the donors are now taking a different position forcing government to pass the Access to Information Bill if they are to resume their financial support towards Malawi.
On that note, Matewere urged Pac, to take a leading role in influencing the donors to resume their financial support to Malawi.
But Mulomole said since its establishment in 1992, Pac has been providing solutions to challenges and the role played in the past is there for all to see.
“Pac has played a key role in this country to change from one party to multiparty. And from there onward, we have brought solution after solution. If they say Pac is useless then they don’t know our history and they should go back and read our track record on what religious leader have done in this country. We are where we are because the churches and the mosques are active. Otherwise, we would still be in one party rule,” Mulomole said.
He said Pac has never been partisan unless the critics produce instances when Pac has been partisan.
“Pac has addressed the issues in a non-partisan way that’s why sometimes Pac has been accused of either siding with opposition or government because we have been neutral. Pac as religious leaders we have tried to be non-partisan and our credibility in this country is a story on its own. People have trust in Pac and even people and organisations from outside the country have said that Pac is morally credible,” he said.
Mulomole said United Nation Development Programme (UNDP) is funding the forthcoming forum.
“If UNDP is partisan, then they are right. If they say UNDP is neutral, then they are wrong. But as UNDP cannot fund a partisan organisation, you know that. So, whatever they are saying, I think they should produce evidence, because people are just talking,” Mulomole said.
Socio-political commentator, Joseph Chunga, said Pac has been holding national conferences with the involvement of all stakeholders and the current wave of committee’s criticism is the work of propaganda.
Chunga said Pac has played an important role in the country’s politics and it would be unfair to create negative stories
“Pac meetings are open to all the NGOs and CSOs. If people have reservations on what Pac is doing, then why not raising their concerns during the forum?” Chunga said.
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