Civil Society Organisations’ (CSOs) have infuriated government officials after CSO leaders failed to show up for dialogue meetings.
Speaking at a press briefing which held at Capital Hill on Wednesday, presidential advisor on Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) Mabvuto Bamusi said government called for the dialogue meeting with the CSOs on Tuesday at 10am and extended it to Wednesday 1pm but the CSOs only informed government at 2pm that they will not attend the meeting.
Bamusi added that government showed that it is open and accountable to conduct the dialogue to map the way forward regarding the CSOs’ concerns.
“We have been waiting for the CSOs to discuss the issues that are affecting Malawians and on how best we can address their concerns, many high level officials from government were waiting for their arrival since Gift Trapence said that they will communicate if they will attend or not,” he said.
In a statement, Information Minister Nicholas Dausi said the CSOs under Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC) want to frustrate Government’s intentions for deepening democracy and development through dialogue.
According to Dausi, they wanted to meet the CSOs to develop rules of engagement in a collective manner but the CSOs conducted themselves with a sense of ‘civil society dictatorship’ characterized with unbridled egos from the leadership of the HRDC.
“This attitude erodes the image of the HRDC as they technically cease to be effective human rights defenders and leaves many wondering what they are actually defending,” Dausi said.
“Government further wishes to remind the HRDC and the wider CSOs that Government has a strong commitment to promote and protect human rights and this is one of the reasons Government decided to engage the HRDC in a healthy dialogue because Government shall always be on the side of the people.”
Dausi however said government will continue to approach the CSO, NGO, faith community, and other non-state actors, for the good of the people of Malawi.
In a separate interview with the local media, chairperson of the CSOs team Gift Trapence said they felt that government wanted to manipulate them and they wanted President Peter Mutharika to be present at the meeting.
The CSOs earlier vowed to go ahead with the demonstrations on September 21 aimed at showing their anger over the Mutharika administration’s failure to resolve several issues.