Barely a week after some civil society organisations (CSOs) wrote the Global Fund to rescind the nomination of President Peter Mutharika as champion of its Sixth Replenishment Campaign, another group of CSOs has also written the fund, thanking it for Mutharika’s appointment.
While both parties concede that the letters would confuse the fund, the two groups—Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC) and Joint-Civil Society Platform on Health—accuse each other of being political.
In an interview on Friday, political analyst George Phiri has taken a swipe at the CSOs, saying the feud is indicative of lack of objectivity and how much politics has penetrated into their work.
Led by Timothy Mtambo and Gift Trapence, HRDC, in a letter dated July 27 2018 to the fund’s executive director Peter Sands, argues that Mutharika lacks the requisite moral standing to assume that role, especially that the position would require him to lead efforts in soliciting funding pledges.
But the Joint Civil Society Platform on Health, has countered the letter in a communication dated August 1 2018, telling the Global Fund that they do not subscribe to that notion.
Led by Lucky Mbewe and Maxwell Matewere, the platform argues that HRDC only wants to drag the Global Fund into local politics.
“We, therefore, wish to take this opportunity to highlight that when it comes to issues of dealing with HIV and Aids, TB and malaria, local politics must not be at play and we believe the communication was made to drag the Global Fund into Malawi local politics which has no relation to the task that President Mutharika has been appointed for,” reads their letter in part.
In an interview, Matewere admitted that the two letters are confusing, but argued that the country stands to benefit more with Mutharika in that position.
On his part, Mtambo said it was confusing and unimaginable that some CSOs would stoop so low as to protect impunity and bad governance.
“We knew that they will come in, but with this, they are now giving us more reasons to raise our advocacy to the next bar, we will engage international institutions which believe in good governance to drum up our support for this noble cause,” he charged.
Reacting to the feud, analyst George Phiri said he sees lack of objectivity in the work of CSOs, as each group takes a political stand on any issue, instead of being apolitical.
But upon arrival from Johannesburg in South Africa last Sunday, where he attended the Brics Summit, Mutharika said it is sad for Malawians to have this kind of attitude.
In the Global Fund role, Mutharika will be responsible for coordinating activities aimed at harnessing efforts in soliciting funding pledges from countries, international organisations and individuals towards the Sixth Global Fund Replenishing Conference to be held in France in 2019.
The Global Fund is a Geneva-based international organisation that aims at mobilising, leveraging and investing additional resources to end HIV and Aids, tuberculosis and malaria epidemics to support the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) established by the United Nations.