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CSOs slam Tonse on corruption, promises

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Benedicto Kondowe

Civil society organisations under the banner of National Advocacy Platform (Nap) Tuesday slammed the Tonse Alliance-led administration for tolerating fraud and corruption in the 255 days it has been in power.

But government spokesperson Gospel Kazako said the government was committed to the fight against corruption, citing increased allocations to governance institutions such as the Anti-Corruption Bureau.

Nap Chairperson Benedicto Kondowe told reporters in Lilongwe yesterday that there was continued lack of accountability and transparency in the management of public resources, heightening corruption, fraud and abuse of public resources.

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“The recent corruption scandal over K6.2 billion Covid funds, unresolved reports of fraud at Nocma [National Oil Company of Malawi] and continued entanglement of Ministry of Mines’ officials in bribery allegations are signs that malpractices were going on unhindered,” Kondowe said.

NGO Gender Coordination Network Chairperson Barbara Banda said the country continued to witness an escalation of attacks on women and girls persons with albinism and the elderly.

Banda said, this year alone, three elderly people have been killed on accusations of practising witchcraft.

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“While there has been an improvement in the enjoyment of freedoms, journalists continue to face unwarranted attacks from political groups. Seventeen journalists have been attacked so far.

“The police have continued to use heavy-handedness,” Banda said.

Reacting to the accusations, Kazako said the Tonse Alliance-led administration was committed to promoting ideals of transparency, saying that is why it fully funded the Office of the Ombudsman.

“It is our DNA, as government, that made us put to work the Access to Information law with an objective to, backed by the law, give freedom to citizens to get any information.

“If we were not fighting corruption, there couldn’t have been any reason for us to do all this. No government in the past 26 years has done what we have done,” Kazako said.

On reducing presidential powers, Kazako said Chakwera declared, on his own, his wish to have his powers trimmed with a view to obtaining a system that aids national progress.

“It is now up to Parliament to facilitate this. Remember, these powers are provided for in the laws of this country, laws that are made by Parliament.

“Otherwise, it is not the intention of His Excellency to hold on to any powers that he said needed to be offloaded,” Kazako said.

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