Civil society organisations (CSOs) under the banner of Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC) have written the Global Fund, asking it to rescind the nomination of President Peter Mutharika as Champion of its Sixth Replenishment Campaign.
In a letter dated July 27 2018 to the fund’s executive director Peter Sands, the CSOs argue that the Malawi leader lacks the requisite moral standing to assume that role, especially the fact that the position would require him to lead efforts in soliciting funding pledges.
But Mutharika has described the calls as sad, saying he is not benefitting anything as it is “purely a voluntary organisation”.
In their letter, the CSOs said Mutharika presides over an administration embroiled in corruption scandals.
A letter, co-signed by the forum’s chairperson Timothy Mtambo and his deputy Gift Trapence, respectively, says the fund erred in the appointment, arguing it was made without due diligence and in total disregard of Mutharika’s domestic track record.
Reads the letter in part: “It is also the same government that abused funds at the National Aids Commission [NAC] where Beautify Malawi Trust [Beam] and Mulhakho wa Alhomwe got funds from the National Aids Commission without following proper procedures.”
The CSOs have also included the recent Malawi Police Service (MPS) food rations scandal which a leaked Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) investigation report documented that supplier Pioneer Investments made an abortive interest claim of K466 million and deposited K145 million into the governing Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) bank account at Standard Bank whose sole signatory is President Peter Mutharika.
The CSOs argue that in the circumstances, it is untenable that a leader linked to abuse of funds in his country is deemed fit to serve in such a position.
They further argue that the appointment is against the fund’s Ethics and Integrity Framework which states that its strength is contained in its values, of which ethics and integrity are integral.
But speaking yesterday on arrival from Johannesburg in South Africa, where he attended the Brics Summit, Mutharika said it is sad for Malawians to have this kind of attitude.
He said: “Trapence and Mtambo have reported me to Geneva to say I should be disqualified in raising this money because I do not have moral authority. It is very sad for Malawians that we have reached this level of hatefulness on all levels. I don’t care about the Global Fund, they can remove me from it, I am not benefitting anything, it’s purely a voluntary organisation.”
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 to mobilise, leverage and invest additional resources to end HIV and Aids, tuberculosis and malaria epidemics to support the Sustainable Development Goals established by the United Nations.