Minister of Information and Communications Technology Nicholas Dausi says a delegation of the governing Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) will attend the forthcoming Public Affairs Committee (PAC) Sixth All-Inclusive Stakeholders Conference.
The development comes against the background of bad blood between the Executive and PAC. Recently, PAC came under fire for faulting President Peter Mutharika and his DPP’s leadership style that has seen corruption worsening, among others.
In an interview yesterday, Dausi said government and the DPP were yet to receive invitation letters to the conference scheduled for Blantyre this week, but was quick to point out that delegates would definitely be sent to the meeting.
He said: “Any meeting or conference or congregation that meets for the good of the people, then government would definitely be there.”
PAC publicity secretary Fr Peter Mulomole confirmed in an interview that invitation letters were sent to over 150 delegates, including government officials.
He said delegates to the meeting will discuss a report on the feedback from the Fifth All-Inclusive Stakeholders’ Conference and chart the way forward.
Mulomole also dismissed assertions that the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) that funded the last meeting has withdrawn its support.
He said UNDP is still funding other programmes within PAC, adding that Open Society Initiative for Southern Africa (Osisa) is the donor approached to fund the forthcoming conference.
In a related development, presidential aide Mavuto Bamusi, who is also spokesperson for the government team that President Peter Mutharika assigned to engage PAC into ‘discussions’ on resolutions made during the last conference, has asked the governance watchdog to sober up.
In an interview, Bamusi said: “The five-plus-one conference should, therefore, be an opportunity for turning PAC to its right path instead of continuing using PAC as a conduit for churning unmerited anger and dislike for Mutharika over the 2014 electoral outcome.
“PAC and its conference should respect this country’s leadership under Mutharika and take advantage of the dialogue window the President has provided.”
He also indicated that the multi-faith human rights and social watchdog can express new interest if it wishes that dialogue should resume.
However, PAC executive director Robert Phiri is on record as having said that it was no longer necessary for the grouping to meet the President because the statement they intended to present to him is already in the public domain.
The last meeting between PAC and the President in April last year ended in a deadlock as the President faulted PAC officials for giving him a deadline to act on issues affecting the country, including resolutions made by delegates to the February 2016 Fifth All-Inclusive Stakeholders Conference in Blantyre. n