Malawi still has lots of reported cases on corruption as well as violation of Human Rights despite the country being a signatory to international treaties that fight against these malpractices. But how best can such cases be addressed? The Council for Non-Governmental Organisation CONGOMA answers this question as it launched two policy papers that bring to light the current issues of Human Rights as well as the state of National Financial Audit in the country.
The Policy papers were launched on December 16, 2017 at Cross Roads Hotel in Lilongwe emphasizing the status of Human Rights in Malawi and the state of National Financial Audit with special focus on the previous three national financial years.
The launch attracted the NGO community, Government officials, Members of Parliament and other concerned stakeholders who contributed enormously on how issues of corruption and violations of Human Rights could be handled in 2018.
It is CONGOMA’s wish that the issues contained in the papers be taken seriously as they speak to the reality of issues in our communities. CONGOMA on its part, will ensure its members, District CSO networks, and Sector Networks and the citizenry begin to demand accountability at all levels.
In his presentation, Chairperson for Human Rights Consultative Committee Robert Mkwezalamba took the gathering through the Human Rights Paper which indicated the gravity of Human Rights violations in the country which have resulted in huge compromise on the well-being of citizens.
“It is sad that 53 years after independence, Malawi faces numerous challenges in guaranteeing the commitments it made for its people. Some Reported Rights Violations include; excessive use of force including torture by security officers, sexual exploitation of children including early and forced marriage, arbitrary arrest and detention, high cases of mob violence as over 9 innocent Malawians have been killed since July 2017 on allegations of blood sucking and trafficking in persons as over 21 women were stranded in Kuwait while thousands remain trapped in RSA and Europe”, explained Mkwezalamba.
Based on the mentioned Rights Violations, Mkwezalamba pointed out the need for Malawi to adequately address the Human Rights, Democracy and Good Governance gaps presented in the policy positions to be undertaken in the year 2018 and beyond.
Taking his turn, Executive Director for Malawi Economic Justice Network Dalitso Kubalasa presented an analysis on the audit report issued by the Auditor General on the Accounts of the Government of Malawi for the year ended 30th June 2016.
Among other things, Kubalasa openly cited that Auditor General’s report findings on financial statements were Qualified. He said that the findings in the report showed incorrect spending of funds, improper procurement processes, ghost workers and fraudulent payment of salaries, no documents supporting payments and accounting records not being properly maintained at all.
Having highlighted the findings, Kubalasa urged Civil Society Organisations to continue and reinvigorate checks against government excesses.
Welcoming comments from the participants present during the launch, many appealed to CSOs to be alert at all time and check the operations of Government so that there should not be high reported cases on corruption and fraudulent dealings.
“CSOs organize yourselves to bite enough, CONGOMA take the lead”, emphasized one of the participants.
The participants also urged CSOs to lobby for special courts which will be dealing with only corruption cases as it is the case in South Africa. According to them, that will fast track the completion of such cases as they keep on dragging in Malawi.
Recently, there were reports of 20 Members of Parliament who allegedly abused Constituency Development Fund (CDF), and Speaker of the National Assembly Richard Msowoya in November ordered PAC to team up with Ministry of Finance and Auditor General to probe allegations and table a report with names before the August House arose.
CONGOMA as an overall representative of NGOs concerns and interests as well as umbrella NGO coordinating body in Malawi has a coordination mechanism that embraces the CSO Networks.
This is not the first time for CONGOMA to publish the Policy Papers. In 2016 CONGOMA published 4 issues. These did focus on Corruption, Agriculture and food security, Education in Malawi, and Electoral Reforms.