Cracks Rock Civil Society
LILONGWE: Cracks have emerged in the civil society organizations as some groups shunned the outspoken national conference convened by Public Affairs Committee in Blantyre from March 14 to 15.
The indaba was aimed at discussing solutions to the socio-economic crisis rocking the southern African country that has led to a persistent shortage of fuel and forex as well as skyrocketing of commodity prices.
But some organizations led by the Council for NGOs in Malawi whose leadership is currently engaged in peace talks with government said in a statement that they were not part and parcel of the PAC conference.
CONGOMA Chairperson Voice Mhone, who is also leading the civil society to the talks, said they shunned the conference because did not want to be associated with calls for regime change.
“CONGOMA as a Council including its Leadership in the Dialogue process is not part of the conference because we are still committed to the dialogue and we are not part of regime change as others have associated the PAC conference with,” said Mhone.
He however said the PAC conference was crucial as it had brought together various stakeholders to discuss the future of the country.
Opening the conference on Wednesday, Bishop James Tengatenga of the Anglican Church said the indaba has an obligation to determine the future of the country.
“The economic and political problems that Malawi is facing are well documented and now is time for action,” said Bishop Tengatenga.
Former Finance Minister in the UDF government famous for his 10 point economic plan, Professor Mathews Chikaonda told the conference that the local currency, the kwacha, has already devalued itself despite officials denying this.
He was apparently referring to President Bingu wa Mutharika who has stuck to his guns that he will not devalue the kwacha which on the black market is trading at 300 kwacha to one US dollar against a bank rate of 165 kwacha.
But President Mutharika has repeatedly said that devaluing the kwacha will badly affect the poor as commodities will skyrocket a development that can breed political disaster for the ruling party which is gearing for re-election is 2014.
The ruling Democratic Progressive Party has already endorsed the President’s brother, Foreign Affairs Minister Professor Peter Mutharika to be the party’s presidential candidate in 2014.—Zodiak Online
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