Some NGO’s Back Government On ZBS and Devaluation Of The Kwacha
Some local Non Governmental Organisations in the country are supporting government on the issue of devaluation of the Kwacha and zero deficit budget, while saying that the umbrella board CONGOMA, does not consult its members when deciding on their position of issues affecting the country.
The 40 NGOs that include The Malawi Network of AIDS Service Organisations (MANASO), Child Rights Information and Documentation Centre (CRIDOC), Society for Advancement of Women (SAW), Chinansi, Malawi Economic Justice Network (MEJN) and Mbaweni Women Association, agreed to support government idelogy on both issues in the recent meeting that was held in Lilongwe on 1 st march 2011, according to Mr Chodzi who is CAYO’s executive director.
The NGOs, led by Counseling for the Adolescent and Youth Organization (CAYO) and Mr. Mabvuto Bamusi, a member of the newly appointed NGO Board agreed that government should devalue the Kwacha only when certain measures are put in place to cushion poor people.
Mr. Mabvuto Bamusi, said the position to support government on the budget and devaluation are based on evidence .
However, Mr. Fyson Chodzi, pointed out that the position of the NGOs does not represent the views of all NGOs in Malawi.
“We called this meeting so that NGOs should voice out their positions. We need to start putting a human face to issues affecting the country,” said Chodzi.
Mr. Chodzi says his organization, with the involvement of NGO Board organization, arranged a meeting for some civil society groups in Lilongwe on Thursday to discuss the issue of devaluation of Malawi Kwacha and promotion of zero-deficit budget.
However Mr. Voice Mhone who is the Chairperson of Council for Non-Governmental Organisations in Malawi (CONGOMA), has said the NGOs that met in Lilongwe were not genuine members of CONGOMA.
Mr. Mhone refuted the idea that their board CONGOMA does not consult it members by saying, the position taken by Civil Society Organizations on the issues was reached after consulting all members, adding that CSOs are still discussing with government on issues of devaluation of Malawi kwacha and on zero-deficit budget.
“The issues of zero-deficit budget and devaluation of Malawi kwacha are on the dialogue table and CONGOMA represents all NGOs in that process. Those NGOs that met maybe are not genuine members of CONGOMA,” said Mr. Mhone.
However some quarters in the country have questioned the Civil society’s role,as they appear to have contributed to the economic woes in the country with their political stance they took against the president of the country.
Recently the civil society announced that they have pulled out of the dialogue Mr Mhone was talking about because of Mr Kasambaras arrest which had nothing to do with the country’s situation.
And commenting on the issue Mr Manuel Kandaya belonging to one of the NGO’s that were present at the meeting said ” how can they say they are discussing with government on these two issues but yet just last week they announced one of their many withdraws and suspension of the dialogue? These people are not serious and should not be taken as such. We want to move forward and help government on issues that are affection malawians not making it worse with unnecessary disagreements and confrontations.” he said.
The civil society’s confrontation approach has been condemned and the president recently pleaded with them when he opened Khuluvi road calling them to come to a round table and iron out their differences .
The civil society’s calls on devaluation and zero deficit budget have echoed those of IMF and World Bank who have indicated that devaluation is the only solution to the country’s current lack of forex and ongoing economic hardships.
They also have said that Malawi should abandon its Zero deficit project saying its not achievable and unmanageable.
But renowned economist in the country have backed the zero deficit budget saying it is a way to achieve economic independence after relying on donor for 48 years.
President Bingu wa Mutharika, has sometimes teased his opponents for failing to understand the concept of the zero deficit budget saying this has drawn unwarranted criticisms.
On devaluation of the kwacha, president Mutharika has indicated that his government will not devalue Malawi kwacha because the impact would be devastating on the country’s already struggling population.