CSOs report MRA, Macra, ACB abuse
Centre for Human Rights and Rehabilitation (CHRR) and Centre for Development of People (Cedep) have reported the Malawi Government to the African Commission on Human and People’s Rights on abuse of public institutions.
The two institutions reported the government in their joint submission to the 61st Ordinary Session of the Commission in Banjul, Gambia on November 2 2017.
The two human rights organisations cited the government’s tactics of using public institutions such as Malawi Revenue Authority (MRA) and Malawi Communications Regulatory Authority (Macra) to silence its critics.
“Public institutions such as the Malawi Communications Regulatory Authority (Macra), the Malawi Revenue Authority (MRA), Non -Governmental Organisations (NGO) Board and the Anti- Corruption Bureau have time and again been used to silence political and human rights activists as well as media houses that have vigilantly reported on corruption,” reads the joint statement.
In April this year, MRA pounced on Institute of Public Opinion and Research offices for suspected tax crimes barely days after its lead researcher Bonface Dulani of Chancellor College co-authored a report which ranked President Mutharika as the least trusted.
MRA also closed Times Group offices at the height of the Maizegate which Times exposed as possible corrupt practices in the government.
The joint statement also reported the politicisation of government institutions such as Malawi Broadcasting Corporation (MBC).
“We urge the Malawi Government to depoliticise the state governance institutions such as Macra, Malawi Broadcasting Corporation, Malawi NGO Board and Anti- Corruption Bureau which have been used as vehicles to stifle the civil and political space,” it reads in part.
The organisations also complained of an NGO Policy and an amendment to the NGO Act of 2001 which they say if adopted and passed as they are, will have a negative impact on the operation of NGOs and activists in the country.
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