By Synd Kalimbuka
Centre for Social Concern (CFSC) has urged journalists in the country to effectively use investigative skills to report on how public funds are managed in Malawi.
The call was made during media training on Public Finance Management tracking by CFSC at Hapuwani Village Lodge in Mulanje district.
Director for CFSC Fr. Dr. James Ngahy strongly believe that active citizen participation in public finance management will enhance transparency and accountability that will lead to reduced poverty and inequality among Malawians.
Dr Ngahy said media in Malawi has a big role to play in reporting any malpractice on mismanagement of public funds in the councils, government ministries and non-governmental institutions.
“Journalists are like prophets who should expect a lot of challenges when they expose issues of public concern especially on transparency and accountability where other duty bearers become angry,” said Ngahy.
He further urged journalists from Zomba and Phalombe who attended the training to expose any malpractices involving mismanagement of public funds for betterment of future generations.
“There is the gap on reporting on public finance management in Malawi because of lack of knowledge on how such cases happen among journalists hence this training to drill you,” he added.
In his remarks on behalf of Zomba and Phalombe district councils when he officially opened the training, District Commissioner for Phalombe Rodrick Mateauma said time has come for councils to start striving for effective public finance management through engagement of all stakeholders including journalists for transparency and accountability.
“Councils should engage citizens and all stakeholders including the media in the implementation of projects to promote effectives of public funds management, transparency and accountability,” said Mateauma.
He further promised to work together with the media for a common goal in making sure that public funds are used properly.
Public Relations Officer for Zomba Press Club Mbanandi Saka said the training was very vital as it played as an eye opener to the journalists.
Saka called on journalists to be vigilant and make use of the knowledge they acquired by engaging communities on promotion of transparency and accountability.
“Let me encourage my fellow journalists to document programmes and report issues that are happening especially to do with public funds mismanagement,” said Saka.
She assured the organizers to make effective use of the skills to investigate and report issues to do with public funds management tracking.
Sam Majamamda who works with Malawi News Agency in Phalombe thanked CFSC for organising the training.
Majamamda said most of the journalists have the passion to work for the nation in promoting transparency and accountability.
He however mentioned lack of resources and support as one of the challenges hindering their effectiveness on reporting of such issues.
During the training, centre for social concern engaged directors of finance from Zomba and Phalombe districts as facilitators who drilled journalists from the two districts on process and policies on management of public funds.
Centre for Social Concern is implementing the project called Strengthening Capacity of Citizens to demand transparency and accountability in public finance management for reduced poverty and inequality.
The project is implemented with the total funding of 102, 000 Euros by GIZ.