Presidential dialogue group dissolved
Malawi govt has dissolved the Presidential Contact and Dialogue Group (PCDG) that Bingu wa Mutharika formed to placate the donors demands for engaging with the civil society who were planning more protests against poor political and economic governance including his increasingly autocratic rule.
Outgoing chairperson of the Presidential Contact and Dialogue Group (PCDG), Anglican Archbishop Emeritus Bernard Malango, says there is nothing wrong with President Joyce Banda's decision to dissolve the group and create another one.
Malango said PCDG was almost through with its work, having tackled the majority of the concerns raised in the 20-point-petition presented by civil society organisations (CSOs) last year.
"We don't think that the dissolution is a vote of no confidence. Some of us have other engagements and, in my case, Iam also a commissioner for the Malawi Electoral Commission and cannot double the roles.
"In addition, we are glad that the president was happy with the Malawi National Dialogue Process Progress Report (MNDPPR). We have managed to solve 80 percent of the concerns raised in the 20-point-petition," Malango said.
He said issues that have not been solved demand long-term solutions.
"For example, we did not discuss Malawi Broadcasting Corporation and were unable to immediately solve issues such as forex, drug, and fuel shortage because of they require long term remedies. Otherwise, we have succeeded," Malango said.
Representative of the CSOs, Voice Mhone, confirmed that 80 percent of the issues have been tackled. They include demands for decent jobs for Malawians, resolution of Chancellor College's academic freedom saga, and nurses' allowances.
But he said government was yet to commit itself on the demand that top government officials declare their assets. He also expressed dissatisfaction with results of the Anti-Corruption Bureau probe on how ministers and senior government officials purchased houses at below-market value.
The MNDPPR classifies progress into three categories of what has happened on the issues presented, what has not happened, and issues that were not raised or agreed upon.
On the next course of action, State House press secretary Steven Nhlane said the president will constitute another committee.
"After expiry of the dialogue group's mandate, the president has announced that another committee will be constituted," Nhlane said.
Mutharika appointed Malango chairperson of the group on 13 August 2011. The group was mandated to act as a platform for contact and dialogue between the government, CSOs, and opposition political parties.