National Initiative for Civic Education (NICE)’s commitment to deepening democracy and good governance among Malawians through creating an informed and active citizenry is bearing fruit as more and more communities are continuously demanding accountability and are firmly standing up against corruption and maladministration among duty bearers.
With the help of NICE, communities in Blantyre, Zomba, Chitipa and Ntcheu have all have stories to tell about how they acted decisively for the betterment of their respective communities challenging service providers and/or duty bearers.
In Blantyre rural, alert members of Makata Citizen Forum successfully prevented maize meant to be sold in their area to diverted to some unspecified destination by scrupulous vendors.
“We managed to impound the vehicle which wanted to divert the maize meant for this area,” a proud Forum member, Rabani Makindetsa told Take Part newsletter in an interview at Ngoloma school in Blantyre rural.
He said when they saw a truck taking maize away from their ADMARC they asked authorities where the maize was going and upon receiving unsatisfactory answers, they impounded the truck.
“We mobilized ourselves, called for an emergency meeting for the entire community to put strategies on how to address corruption and inaccessibility of maize at Admarc deport,” Makondetsa said.
A similar story was reported in Zomba where a local chief was not able to account for at least 50 bags of relief items meant to be distributed to his community.
This prompted NICE Trust’ Mtendere Citizen Voice to report the matter to the police who later arrested the chief for stealing items meant for the entire community.
Upon release from the jail, the chief was forced to discharge the stolen food items and distribute to all affected families.
“The chief got arrested
for keeping to himself relief items which meant to caution the locals from hunger. This gave lessons to other chiefs who used to do the same malpractice. Now, developmental activities are done openly than ever before.
“NICE Trust office in the
district helped us with leadership and democracy skills on accountability and transparency for all developmental projects meant for the poor,” hailed Bernadette Makumba, committee member for Mtendere Voice.
Meanwhile in Chiti
pa, it was a Parliamentarian who sought to divert money meant for construction of a Community Based Care Center (CBCC) at Namlotha to a different project.
Local communities were having non of it.
They mobilized and engaged NICE and other civil society organizations in the district to demand that money be returned.
When Take Part visited Namulotha, the CBCC had passed the window level and was expected to be completely and fully functional
And in Ntcheu, Traditional Authority (TA) Masasa, through NICE Trust’s engagement with communities to stand up for accountability and transparency, Citizen Forum members successfully exposed the siphoning of farm inputs intended for four irrigation schemes including one in TA Masasa.
Chiefs were conniving with Area Development Committee (ADC) to steal six bags of fertilizer from each of the four schemes’ allocated 20 bags leaving them with 14 bags each.
Many more districts are recording incidents where local communities are standing up to demand answers from duty bearers or their representatives on how projects or initiatives are being managed.
This is in line with the vision of NICE which says the organizations aims to create: “A well informed, empowered, responsive and transformed Malawian society that actively participates in public life.”