CSOs call for demos on Jan15
The Global Fund has asked the National Aids Commission (NAC) to explain why organisations that are not directly involved in the Aids fight recently got funding from the commission, Weekend Nation has learnt.
The query follows Weekend Nation’s recent revelation that First Lady Gertrude Mutharika’s Beautify Malawi (Beam) Trust and Mulhako wa Alhomwe got some money from NAC to fund activities that have nothing to do with the fight against HIV and Aids. The National Investigations Bureau (NIB) also asked NAC for the funding but was not given.
Speaking when he appeared before the Parliamentary Committee on HIV and Nutrition on Thursday in Lilongwe to explain NAC’s alleged misuse of funds, the commission’s acting executive director, Davie Kalomba, disclosed that the Global Fund, which is the major donor in the fight against Aids, tuberculosis and malaria in the country, has written his organisation to explain the allegations.
Kalomba told the committee that the alleged abuse of fund is not true and that existing granting procedures provide for multiple channels of financing that include NAC and the said recipient organisations as well as demand-driven applications.
Said Kalomba: “Allegations of massive abuse of HIV funds started sometime in September. Following that there have been numerous articles in the media, both local and in the social media.”
The NAC management team told the committee that the commission has been funding many organisations for activities related to HIV and Aids, especially on information dissemination.
Kalomba admitted that NAC received NIB’s proposal but said they did not give the money because it did not qualify.
The NAC management team also told the committee the commission has been funding cultural festivals such as the Ngoni Maseko and the Mulhako wa Alhomwe groupings using existing opportunities to advance the HIV and Aids agenda, through high level advocacy as one way of supporting national events where a wider cross-section of society avails itself.
Kalomba, however, blamed some online and social media outlets for misrepresenting facts on the issue.
At the meeting, NAC board chairperson Mara Kumbweza Banda told the committee that an audit report which led to the suspension of the commission’s executive director, Dr Thomas Bisika, has been released and is currently in the hands of Chief Secretary to Government George Mkondiwa and the Attorney General for possible action
“The suspension period for Dr. Bisika was extended to another month as investigations started late and we were informed that the report was out and with the Attorney General and the Chief Secretary,” she said.
Meanwhile, following the seven-day’s ultimatum which some civil society organisations (CSOs) issued last Thursday, demanding Beam and Mulhako wa Alhomwe to reimburse the funding, NGOs working in the health, HIV and Aids and human rights sector say they have no choice but to call for a national demonstration this January15, 2015.
A statement signed by the Centre for Development of People (Cedep), the Centre for Human Rights and Rehabilitation (CHRR) and Manet+, among others, says the CSOs “have learnt with great shock the recent Beam and NAC media responses”, which they say “have not only exposed contradictions and resurfacing of ‘Executive arrogance’ but also how heartless, insensitive and selfish the current regime [is].”
However, speaking at a news conference they organised in Lilongwe on Friday, Cedep executive director Gift Trapence said the demonstrations are one of the avenues of pressing the two beneficiaries to pay back the funds. n