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Civil Society Organisations drag DPP back to court

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The five rights organisations that have been pushing the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) to pay back the money it got from various public institutions for its fundraising dinner have terminated the dialogue process they engaged in with the party.

In a letter authored yesterday by the civil society organisations’ (CSOs) lawyer, Wesley Mwafulirwa, the CSOs cite lack of seriousness from the party as the main reason for the decision.

This, according to Mwafulirwa, means his clients will soon commence court proceedings against the DPP which cancelled the second dialogue meeting last week due to the reported sickness of party Secretary General (SG) Greselder Jeffrey.

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“Our clients advise us that they have seen lack of seriousness in your approach in the above matter. As such they have asked us to terminate the dialogue.

Be therefore advised that any day from to-date you will be served with the necessary court processes,” reads the letter in part.

In a subsequent interview, Mwafulirwa said the court case can only be avoided if the party meets the two demands that the CSOs have been making.

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Following revelations that the DPP pocketed about K13.5 million from Blantyre and Mzuzu City councils and the Lilongwe Water Board combined, the rights bodies have been pressuring the party to publicise names of institutions that financed the event and the amounts, and then pay back the money in full.

The CSOs are Youth and Society, Centre for Human Rights and Rehabilitation, Centre for the Development of People, Human Rights Consultative Committee and Church and Society in the Livingstonia Synod of the CCAP.

But DPP’s spokesperson, Francis Kasaila, in his reaction yesterday, accused the CSOs of accepting the dialogue in bad faith.

He wondered why they have opted to disengage a process which, he said, would have led to an amicable resolution on the matter.

“Well, I have not yet seen the letter but it’s surprising that they want to accuse us of calling off the meeting because the SG was not feeling well. The question perhaps should be why they did not insist that the meeting should proceed?” he queried.

Asked on how the party will proceed in the wake of the new development, Kasaila said they would wait for advice from their legal counsel on the way forward.

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