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Congoma slams leaders on poverty

Council for Non-Governmental Organisations in Malawi (Congoma) has said leaders in the country must give citizens the right tools and create a conducive environment for development instead of cheating Malawians that “they will develop the poor”.

Congoma Chairperson, MacBain Mkandawire, said it is unfortunate that the leaders continue to make claims that the economy is growing but the figure of 51.7 percent of Malawians who are still trapped in poverty means the economic growth is not trickling down to the people.

He said the whole essence of the struggle for liberation from colonialists was, among others, to end poverty among the people as such it is a paradox that after so many years of independence the people are still in poverty.

“Are current development leaders in Malawi realising that we are repeating the very mistakes committed by colonial masters, which were characterised by inequality and social exclusion? Perhaps, we might be much worse,” he said.

Mkandawire told people who gathered at the opening of the 2016 Non-Governmental Organisations (NGO) week yesterday that some leaders hide behind statistics.

“Yet, some of those leaders join politics very poor, and leave office very rich over a short period of time. Why do our leaders fail to apply the same principle to everyone by ensuring that appropriate tools are put in place in all development systems? Time for excuses is long gone; otherwise, Malawi will continue being an unequalled society and poorest country as it currently stands,” Mkandawire said.

United Nat ions Resident Coordinator, Mia Seppo, said for the country’s NGOs to build trust and confidence among the citizens, there is need for them to be transparent and accountable.

“The environment of mistrust is not conducive for civil society and development. Dwindling civil society in the public space is always a source of concern and for the civil society and NGOs to gain people’s confidence; they need to put emphasis on transparency and accountability. Corruption must be stopped for the SDGs [Sustainable Development Goals] to be achieved,” Seppo said.

This year’s NGO week theme is, ‘Breaking the cycle of Poverty in Malawi; What is the role of NGOs?’

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