MP asks for CSOs’ protection from constituents


Members of Parliament for Mangochi South Lillian Patel has called on civil society organisations (CSOs) in the country to protect them from constituents who have turned them into their source of livelihoods, thereby taking away their peace.

“They expect us to pay for their children’s school fees, to provide funeral expenses and to ferry people to health facilities,” said Patel before adding:

“This is the reason MPs run away from their constituencies and, therefore, we need CSOs to come to our rescue and educate the masses on the roles of MPs.”


Patel was speaking on Wednesday evening in Lilongwe at a function called ‘Working dinner with members of Parliament’ the Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace (CCJP) had called for to discuss issues they felt needed to be included in the national budget.

Later, Patel, who is United Democratic Front (UDF) chief whip in Parliament, surprised the meeting when she made a U-turn to attack CSOs in the country for creating differences between MPs and councillors.

“The CSOs claim that our role is just to make laws and not development because this is an area for councillors and yet here we are called by CCJP to discuss development,” she said.


CCJP National Coordinator Chris Chisoni acknowledged the many daunting challenges that demand the attention of Parliament as it deliberates on the 2015/16 budget but called for more funding towards the fight against attacks on people living with albinism among others.

“There are key priority areas that need your attention and that Malawian citizens are expecting you to transact on their behalf and, as such, this interface meeting is a strategic dialogue forum for both the church and Parliament to inform each other on the burning issues affecting Malawi,” he said.

Chisoni encouraged the parliamentarians to consider the plight of those affected by floods and drought, saying these people need to strengthen and resuscitate their lives through provisions in the forthcoming budget.

“Their food security situation needs to be strengthened by deliberately putting in resources that would support their winter cropping,” he said.

Chairperson of the Budget Committee of Parliament, Rhino Chiphiko, said what CCJP was doing was futile and unrealistic because they need to pump more effort in ensuring that what has been allocated in the budget is indeed provided with resources.

“We are here asking for more allocations to different votes and yet last year we had a total budget of K743  billion but only managed to find resources amounting to K490 billion that was used to implement this budget,” he said.

Another parliamentarian, chairperson for the Natural Resources and Climate Change, Werani Chilenga said it was unrealistic and impossible for CCJP to ask for more funds for Chikangawa Forest because it is no longer there.

“This forest is completely depleted; names of those that got its resources and never paid for them have been identified and nothing has happened and, therefore, we cannot be giving it any resources, for what?” queried Chilenga.

However, CCJP National Coordinator for Governance Desk, Martin Chiphwanya, said what they are doing cannot be described as being unrealistic because it’s just an advocacy process which at times is slow.

“Of course, we look at the issues from a different perspective and our role is merely to present these emerging issues as we get them from the grassroots,” he said.

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