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National Democratic Institute closes office

National Democratic Institute (NDI) has closed its office in Malawi after empowering communities in governance issues since 1994.

The organisation also played a critical role in the 2014 tripartite elections by, among other things, holding presidential debates and empowering Malawi Electoral Support Network (Mesn) to conduct long term observation and parallel vote tabulation which validated presidential elections results.

The Malawi office had 12 staff members.

NDI Country Director, Sandy Quimbaya, said on Wednesday in Lilongwe that her organisation was packing up on a good note after empowering local communities and civil society organisations in governance issues which have helped them to track down national and council budgets.

She said communities are also able to hold duty bearers accountable. She further said local communities also see the importance of taking part in elections. NDI worked with 36 organisations before the 2014 elections and 17 after the elections.

“We have been around since 1994. We will maintain contacts and relationships. We were here to empower you, now you can continue with your efforts. We should be proud and not sad at this development,” Quimbaya said at the last meeting with NDI stakeholders in Lilongwe.

When organisations said NDI was leaving them with unfinished business as far as governance issues were concerned, Quimbaya said; “Start knocking on other doors and tell them why governance is important. It is your country.”

Executive Director of Church and Society of the Livingstonia Synod of the Church of Central African Presbyterian (CCAP) Moses Mkandawire thanked NDI for empowering civil society organisations and local communities who can now appreciate governance issues.

“Communities at local level are able to track down public expenditure and take part in the democratisation process. Leaders are held accountable nowadays, thanks to NDI for the capacity building,” said Mkandawire.

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