By Alfred Mthandizi
Malawi influential Civil Society Organizations Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace and Centre for environmental Policy and advocacy, says Malawi is not benefiting from mining sector. CCJP Karonga Desk Officer Louis Nkhata in an interview said the country is not benefiting because there is no transparency surrounding negotiations of mining deals.
Nkhata gave an example of the Kayerekera situation where the deal was discussed and reached only at top level. “Even the community never benefitted because of lack of these bonding agreements,” said Nkhata. Nkhata said it is unfortunate that Malawians themselves are being sidelined. “As citizens they are supposed even to follow the process which is not the case at the moment,” said Nkhata.
According to Nkhata there is need for free prior and informed consent and its practices. On top of free prior, Nkhata said there is also need for the community to access experts for professional advice. CEPA Program officer Cynthia Simkonda collaborated with Nkhata while urging the media to help in providing accurate information on mining issues.
Simkonda said that is the two organizations are implementing a joint program aimed at strengthening governance of extractive industry. “The project is aimed at equipping media with expertise to enable them enquire, investigate and reported EI accountability and transparency issues in the sector,” said Simkonda. Simkonda said the project is also aimed at engaging the media to stimulate debate on EI issues.