Federal system of government advocates in the North have severed their working relationship with the Public Affairs Committee (Pac) on their calls to change the current unitary system of government after Pac failed to show up at a meeting on Wednesday in Mzuzu.
The advocates meeting under Community for Federalists (Cofe) made the resolution after Pac shunned the meeting. The federalism advocates have since described the body as serving the interests of government.
Over 20 delegates representing all the districts in the Northern Region had gathered on Wednesday and seated by 8am at Livingstonia Synod offices waiting for Pac Chairperson Reverend Felix Chingota, spokesperson Father Peter Mulomole, Board of Trustees member Reverend Timothy Nyasulu and Executive Director Robert Phiri.
Cofe chairperson Bina Shaba alleged in an interview at the failed meeting that Pac shunned the indaba deliberately because its officials were serving the interest of government. Shaba said it was unfortunate that Pac only sent an apology at around 10am after people had travelled from distant places.
“Pac is cheating us that they do not have money to meet us. How come they are telling us that we should choose four people to go and meet them in Lilongwe? Where will they get the money to refund transport for the people? Why not just use the same money and meet us here?
“This Pac is for DPP government which is refusing federalism in the country. Their presentations at the regional conference here were contrary to what people expected to hear. They were just promoting decentralisation. People want federalism here,” said Shaba, adding that Cofe would pursue the agenda without Pac.
Cofe Deputy Chairperson, Iypina Nthakomwa, accused Pac of losing trust, credibility and fairness in the way it handles some issues of public interest.
“This is now Government Affairs Committee and not Public Affairs Committee which Malawians had hope in [during] the past 20 years. Its leaders have now joined secret politics and that is why they are failing to work for the public,” said Nthakomwa.
But Pac Executive Director Robert Phiri said his organisation could not budget for that kind of meeting because of donor limitations.
He, however, admitted receiving the invitation and wondered why the Cofe were complaining about Pac’s failure to attend the meeting because he said his organisation did not officially confirm the attendance. Phiri also said there were no funds for such a gathering.
“Logistically, the secretariat has to arrange accommodation and transport reimbursement for Pac executive committee members because some stay in Blantyre. Obviously, this will require some financial dosage. Take note that it is not a budgeted activity. We cannot spend on such a meeting because we follow donor guidelines,” he said.
Phiri said a future meeting could be arranged after both parties have agreed on the agenda and logistical resources. He brushed aside Cofe accusations that Pac is serving interests of the Democratic Progressive party (DPP) government.
He said Pac remains professional and serves the interests of the public.
Political analyst Mustapha Hussein yesterday faulted Cofe for its decision to abandon Pac in its fight for a federal system of government, saying in doing so, they would not achieve their agenda.
Hussein said the public has trust in Pac and called on Shaba and his group to be patient.
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