Callista Backs President Mutharika on Governance, bashes NGO's

The First Lady Callista Mutharika says critics of the government administration led by her husband President Bingu wa Mutharika should shut-up as Malawi has no governance problems.

But a human rights activist has described the First Lady’s statement as unfortunate and asked for solutions to problems civil society presented to the President in their July 20 petition.

Mutharika, who also attacked civil society groups behind the July 20 anti-government demonstrations, was speaking in Mzimba on Tuesday when she officially opened a K50 million Matuli Health Centre that will serve 10 000 people in the area.

Plan International, an NGO, built the health centre with funding from Norway.

The First Lady called on people to use facilities at the health centre when they are sick.

Turning to the NGOs, she claimed she is aware that some are getting money to disturb peace in the country or promote homosexuality.

Mutharika also called on chiefs and women to turn their backs against NGOs when they ask youths in their communities to demonstrate against government.

She said government is aware of the problem of forex and fuel. But she argued these items do not affect people in rural areas. She said rural masses do not have vehicles and, therefore, should not raise their voice on the forex and fuel shortages.

"If forex is a problem, how come people still go outside the country to buy goods?" Wondered Mutharika, stressing the fight by NGOs is only bent on milking the Western donors.

But Human Rights Consultative Committee (HRCC) chairperson Undule Mwakasungala, whose group was the lead organiser of the July 20 demonstrations, said it is unfortunate the First Lady is castigating NGOs when they already presented a petition to President Bingu wa Mutharika to solve the problems rocking the country.

Said Mwakasungula: "If she has solutions, let her help her husband address issues and not accuse people. She is part and parcel of the problems, so she has to help solving them.

"Castigating NGOs will not help. People died during the demonstrations because they wanted change. We will not be interested in reacting to her sentiments. What we want is for the issues to be addressed."

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