The governing Democratic Progressive Party(DPP) has swallowed its pride and apologized for using abusive language on some civil society leaders who are demanding that the party should refund the recent Blue Night donations from public agencies.
The party’s secretary general Greselder Jeffrey earlier described as Zachamba( nonsense) calls from the CSOs and governance watchdogs, for the DPP to refund an estimated K13.5 million collectively donated by public institutions during its fund raising dinner and dance at Kamuzu Palace in Lilongwe on July 29 2017.
But during a dialogue meeting with the CSOs leaders held in Lilongwe on Friday, the government negotiating team comprising Hetherwick Ntaba, Gleselder Jeffrey and Mavuto Bamusi apologized on behalf of the party for some of its senior officially who uttered words like Zachamba and rubbish.
During the two hour long meeting which was held in camera at Golden Peacock hotel, the CSO leaders also demanded that the DPP should furnish them with a list of all institutions that donated towards the dinner.
The CSO leaders have also demanded that the ruling party should make a public apology for the alleged abuse of power for forcing public agencies to fund its private activity.
The activists also retaliated their stand that they want nothing less of a refund of the money that was collected from the public institutions.
Speaking to journalists after meeting, church and society programme executive director Moses Mkandawire said the CSOs are committed to dialogue and want their demands addressed.
Said Mkandawire: ” We have also agreed that they should also be committed from all political parties in the country that they should never be a time when they draw resources from public institutions and fund private institutions like political parties. We have also agreed to meet again in the near future to continue with this dialogue process.”
On his part, Ntaba said the DPP leadership will meet to discuss and find a way forward on the issues raised by the CSOs leaders.
He however heaped the blame on the media for what he claimed was a distortion of some of the facts in the articles that were published.
” Rather than rushing back to the media and talking to the public through the media and make these particular clarifications. We want to meet amongst ourselves , discuss this issue and see if going back to the media will not spark some similar debates that can be avoided, ” said Ntaba.
Some of the public institutions that donated funds include Blantyre City Council (BCC) Mzuzu City Council(MCC) and Lilongwe Water Board (LWB).
Under Section 178 of the constitution and Section 23 of 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.
Apart from the DPP , the CSOs also want to take to court the affected parastatals and any other person involved in the matter.
The CSO leaders who were present during the meeting included Moses Mkandawire, cedep executive director Gift Trapense, CHRR executive director Timothy Mtambo, activists Dorothy Ngoma and Billy Mayaya.