A high-powered delegation comprising 11 officials from government is attending a two-day Sixth All-Inclusive Stakeholders Conference organised by the Public Affairs Committee (PAC) in Blantyre.
The team includes Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs Samuel Tembenu, Minister of Health Peter Kumpalume, Minister of Transport and Public Works Jappie Mhango, director of communications for the State Residences, Bright Molande, chief presidential adviser on domestic policy Hetherwick Ntaba; presidential adviser on religious affairs Timothy Khoviwa and presidential adviser on civil society and non-governmental organisations Mavuto Bamusi.
In addition to the government officials, the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) has also sent top officials, including secretary general Greselder Jeffrey, national legal adviser Charles Mhango, regional governor for the South, Charles Mchacha, and Ken Msonda, a member.
Initially, PAC had invited four delegates from the government side, but according to Bamusi, who is also leading the team, the invitation was rejected and government asked to be given more seats at the conference.
Bamusi said as government, they wanted their voice to be heard at the conference which he described as important to the people of the country.
“We had discussions with PAC Secretariat on Wednesday on our request and we are happy that eight more people were allowed to be part of the conference. Our presence at the conference clearly demonstrates our commitment in ensuring that things should move in the right direction in this country,” he said.
PAC executive secretary Robert Phiri also confirmed in an interview that government lobbied for more representation at the conference to which they agreed.
However, he denied reports that DPP members were not invited to the conference, saying an invitation was sent to the party’s secretary general in good time.
Also in attendance are representatives from other political parties such as the Malawi Congress Party (MCP), former ruling People’s Party (PP), Alliance for Democracy (Aford), Malawi Forum for Unity and Development (Mafunde), Labour Party, United Democratic Front (UDF) and People’s Transformation Party (Petra).
For the first time, other interested groups such as People’s Land Organisation led by its president Vincent Wandale and Transformation Alliance are also in attendance.
The two-day conference is being held under the theme ‘The State of Governance and Public Trust: Reclaiming Our Destiny.’
PAC has on several occasions accused government of lacking seriousness to engage in discussion with the committee on issues affecting the country.
In April this year, PAC presented a statement in Blantyre titled ‘Unfulfilled promises and deep-rooted corruption.
Presenting the statement to the media, the group’s chairperson Reverend Felix Chingota said Malawi needs a new political architect to turn things around.
The last meeting between PAC and President Peter Mutharika in April last year ended in a deadlock.