President Lazarus Chakwera has assented to the controversial Non-Governmental Organizations’ (NGO) Act Amendment Bill; State House sources have confirmed the development.
This comes as some Civil Society Organizations-CSO’s suspect the bill seeks to gag their operations and undermine human rights and democracy hence their initial push to revise some clauses.
Reacting to the news, Centre for Human Rights and Rehabilitation Executive Director Michael Kaiyatsa describes today as a sad day for democracy and freedom of expression.
He claims this shows President Chakwera and his administration does not respect the constitution.
Earlier, the CSO’s pleaded with Chakwera not to assent to the bill; claiming it also gave the undefined mandate to the NGO authority to suspend and close an organization if any part of the law is violated.
Passed in March this year, the bill, among others, demands accountability for funds and defines roles of the NGO Board and Council for Non-Governmental Organizations in Malawi.