Five civil society organisations (CSOs) pushing the governing Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) to refund money from some public agencies have conditionally accepted to dialogue with the party.
In a response letter to the DPP, which The Nation has seen, the CSOs, through their lawyer Wesley Mwafulirwa, yesterday said they accepted the plea for dialogue, but want the meeting to, among others, be held in closed doors and that each of the five CSOs should send two delegates.
In the letter, Mwafulirwa says his clients have always wanted to resolve the issues amicably to ensure the best interest of Malawians.
He said they also welcome inclusion of the Office of the President and Cabinet (on issues dealing with CSOs) to the meeting.
Reads the letter in part: “The above points notwithstanding, my clients’ proposal is that the meeting be in closed doors… From your side, we would expect a team of not more than eight people as well and perhaps one person from the OPC.
“We propose that the meeting takes place in Lilongwe at Capital Hotel on the 31st of August, 2017 [perhaps from 9:30am to 4:30pm]. Five people will travel from Mzuzu. We expect your institution to take care of booking of the venue as well as accommodation and transport expenses of the team that will come from Mzuzu.”
Mwafulirwa also emphasised on the need for the DPP to guarantee security of his clients during the whole process.
Mwafulirwa’s letter was in reaction to a letter from DPP secretary general Greselder Jeffrey proposing dialogue on the issue.
The DPP’s plea for dialogue came against a background of previous arrogant stances by its senior officials, including Jeffrey who described as “zachamba [nonsense]” calls from CSOs and governance watchdogs, including Malawi Law Society (MLS), for DPP to refund an estimated K13.5 million collectively donated by public institutions during its fundraising dinner and dance at Kamuzu Palace in Lilongwe on July 29 2017.
The five CSOs pushing for the refund are Youth and Society (YAS), Centre for the Development of People (Cedep), Church and Society Programme, Centre for Human Rights and Rehabilitation (CHRR) and Human Rights Consultative Committee (HRCC).
Under Section 178 of the Constitution and Section 23 of the Public
Finance Management Act, no single kwacha of public money is supposed to be expended unless such expenditure is authorised by an Appropriation Act or is a statutory expenditure. n