LILONGWE (Tamanda Mwale, Malawi NewsNow) –Civil society organisations (CSOs) have argued that they failed to show up at a high-level meeting organised by Cabinet ministers on Tuesday to address issues of national concerns they raised in a statement, saying the platform in Lilongwe was not called in good faith.
Some sections of the CSOs asked government to clarify on Farm Input Subsidy Programe (Fisp), give a status report on the country’s economy, water and electricity crises, public service reforms, Decent and Affordable Housing Subsidy Programme, and presidential and foreign trips.
CSOs however described the meeting with ministers as not s dialogue but a well-rehearsed dressing down on government critics.
Centre for Human Rights and Rehabilitation (CHRR) Timothy Mtambo, one of the signatories of the communiqué, said government only informed them about the meeting on Monday night about the briefing while they sponsored some activist backing the regime to be at the meeting in CSO robes.
“Why CSOs should be involved? We expect a concept note if this is an attempt to dialogue; otherwise, the arrangement does not meet any standards. We [also] need to know where we are starting from, the timing is not ideal. You could have given us ample time to prepare and consult,” a statement from the CSO’s to the cabinet meeting reads.
But Minister of Information, Tourism and Civic Education Mr Jappie Mhango said the meeting sought to address some of the issues the CSOs had raised to find a common solution.
Mr Undule Mwakasungula, a one-time fierce critic of government credited for the July 20 2011 nationwide anti-government demonstrations against the regime of former president the late Bingu wa Mutharika, suggested that there should be a common ground from which to operate on; otherwise, the fighting will not help in solving matters.