Some civil rights activists serving in various capacities in public institutions have refused to slow down on public criticism of Malawi government, saying the appointments will not shut them up.
But Malawiâ€™s Minister of Information Moses Kunkuyu said although the appointments were not meant to silence them, the expectation is that the activists would offer advice behind the scenes as they are part of government.
Sources revealed that government is not pleased with public criticism from civil society leaders who were appointed into various positions, especially Malawi Communications Regulatory Authority (Macra) board chairperson Martha Kwataine and Malawi Human Rights Commission board member Benedicto Kondowe.
Kwataine came out strongly condemning the Mponela Rural Hospital bed scandal.
Kwataine, who is Malawi Health Equity Network (Mhen) executive director, said her understanding of the appointment is that it was a vote of confidence that her expertise would add value to Macra.
Said Kwataine: â€œI cannot overshadow the mandate of Mhen because I am chairperson for Macra. I speak on behalf of Mhen and the constituents we serve which are health service consumers and health service providers.â€
Kondowe, who came hard on government following the delays to pay teachers, said civil society leaders still have an obligation to advance the aspirations of Malawians.
â€œAssertions that government expects leaders appointed in various government institutions to stop open criticism of the governmentâ€™s policies and misconduct are not only incorrect but also suggests governmentâ€™s reluctance to embrace the democratic principles,â€ said Kondowe.
Kunkuyu said in an interview on Thursday, the civil society has complained of governmentâ€™s failure to give them an opportunity to serve the people with it.
â€œNow that some of them have been given that chance to be closer to government, they should know the right means of serving the people when you are close to the peopleâ€™s government,â€ he said.