Balaka CSOs echo draft NGO Policy concerns; call for revision

Members of Balaka civil society organisations have called upon government to re-work the draft NGO Policy if the CSOs are to effectively contribute to national development in the country.

The CSOs made the call Friday during district CSOs consultative meeting organized by the Centre for Human Rights and Rehabilitation (CHRR) to solicit inputs from members on draft NGO Policy and amendments to the NGO Act (2001).

The CSOs cited the handing over of assets to government upon the phasing out of the project as one of the retrogressive provisions in the draft Policy.

Simwaka making a Presentation during the consultative meeting

The CSOs also faulted the weakening of the mandate of the Council for Non-Governmental Organisations (CONGOMA) in both draft Policy and amendments Bill, describing the move as a ploy to weaken and manipulate the CSOs in the country.

“As Balaka CSOs, we are expecting the policy and law that will truly create conducive environment for the operations. This draft Policy and amendments Bill need to be thoroughly looked into and we hope government will listen to our demands,” said Harold Kachepatsonga, chairperson for Balaka CSOs network.

Speaking at the meeting, CHRR Advocacy Coordinator Fletcher Simwaka said that he is optimistic government will consider their recommendations when finalizing the Policy and tabling the amendments Bill in Parliament.

“When government earlier this year released the Policy for inputs from stakeholders, the underlying expectation is that government is ready to listen to recommendations and take them on board.

“As CHRR, we are hopeful that these insightful recommendations will be duly considered when finalising the Policy adoption,” he said.

Simwaka said a similar meeting will be conducted in Karonga next week.