8 March 2018

Malawi CSOs Presents Goodall With Three Daggers - Resign, Get Sacked, Face Court - State House Back Finance Minister

Photo: Nyasa Times
Malawi parliament (file photo).

Four leading Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) and some activists have demanded Minister of Finance, Economic Planning and Development Goodall Gondwe to immediately resign because of allegations of abuse in his role for government to allocate K4 billion to 86 parliamentary constituencies.

In a statement issued on Wednesday and made available to Nyasa Times, the CSOs also want President Peter Mutharika to address the nation on the issue and that if Gondwe refuses to resign then he should sack him to distance his government from the conduct which they call "grand corruption" scam.

The statement said: "Tax payers can no longer guarantee safety of their resources in the hands of Goodall Gondwe. If the Goodall Gondwe does not resign, we call upon the President of the Republic of Malawi, Prof. Peter Mutharika to rise to the occasion and fire Goodall Gondwe as Minister of Finance.

"We expect the President to distance his government from the conduct displayed by Mr. Goodall Gondwe by relieving him of his duties. Most importantly, we call upon the President to address the nation on this grand corruption scam."

The CSOs further said Gondwe's conduct as the country's purse-keeper a flies irritatingly in the face of the much-touted fiscal discipline by the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) led government claiming "Malawians have been taken for a ride, once again."

Reads the statement in part: "In fact, fiscal prudence needs no stressing in Malawi. With over 70 percent of the country's population hovering hopelessly below the poverty line, exacerbated by the ever stunted Gross Domestic Product per capita now at only US$1 113, the government should have been leading in ensuring that every penny is well- planned, well-budgeted and expended to letter and spirit of the laws of the country."

The concerned CSOs include Youth and Society (YAS), Centre for Human Rights and Rehabilitation (CHRR), Centre for Development of People (CEDEP) as well as rights activists Reverend Macdonald Sembereka and Billy Mayaya.

YAS is led by Charles Kajoloweka, CHRR by Timothy Mtambo and Cedep is led by Gift Trapence.

The CSOs have questioned the Finance minister for rewarding the MPs while there is evidence that Parliamentarians are fond of abusing the Constituency Development Fund (CDF).

The CSOs have also renewed their calls for the graft-busting body, the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) to commence investigations into the conduct by Gondwe.

"In the same vein, we ask the Public Accounts and Budget and Finance Committees of Parliament to, as a matter of urgency, institute investigations into the matter and duly inform Malawians on the outcome of the investigations in the spirit of transparency, accountability and, most importantly, access to information."

They also call for active citizenship on the matter, saying with the K4 billion revelations, they wonder how much Malawians might have been robbed at the hands of "an irredeemably compromised" Gondwe

Reads the statement: "Moments of docility, sycophancy and blind loyalty to political parties and leaders have shifted behind us. It is time to rescue our country from the educated thieves. Let's say no to impunity!"

Gondwe insisted the money was from taxes, grants and borrowing and was saved from the re-adjustments of the 2017/18 budget that saw cuts to the development budget.

He could not immediately comment on calls for him to resign.

But State House spokesman Mgeme Kalilani has slammed the CSO's for demanding the head of Gondwe.

Kalilani said the fiscal chief cannot be blamed for "a decision that our members of Parliament collectively made."

The State House spokesman said the call for Minister of Finance to resign or get fired on the basis of the project funds allocations is "completely ridiculous."

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