People’s Transformation Party (Petra) presidential candidate on May 20, Kamuzu Chibambo has expressed concern that some donors have denied him and his party’s candidates funding due to their stand against homosexuality.
This concern, he said, was presented to the Public Affairs Committee (PAC), a grouping of religious organisations in Malawi during a meeting with the body’s officials last Wednesday and Thursday.
PAC met four other presidential candidates over two days to seek guidance on the peace pledge to be used during national prayers scheduled for May 10, 2014 in Lilongwe, according to the religious body’s executive director Robert Phiri.
The four candidates are Peter Mutharika of DPP, James Nyondo of National Salvation Front (Nasaf), John Chisi of Umodzi Party (UP) and Davis Katsonga of Chipani Cha Pfuko (CCP).
Said Chibambo: “Donors give condition that we should support homosexuality if we want funding. But since the party is against the belief, we are denied funding. We raised the issue with PAC.”
Chibambo, who could not disclose the names of such donors, and whether they are local or international, said their campaign activities have been crippled.
But Centre for the Development of the People (Cedep), a member of the Human rights consultative committee (HRCC) has described such sentiments from Petra as unfounded, saying donors do not fund political parties or activities of a party.
Cedep executive director Gift Trapence told The Nation that donors are not selective in issues to do with human rights since their mandate is to remind African governments about their international obligations on issues of human rights.
“Donors do not tie their aid or support to sexual minority issues. Previously, donors have withheld their aid to Malawi, for example during the Bakili Muluzi, Bingu wa Mutharika and even Joyce Banda era not because of the gay issue, but because of bad governance and corruption,” said Trapence.
He further said if a political party was denied funding it might be that such donors have strict policies on political party funding.
“We appreciate that political parties think that they can use the gay debate to influence voters, but they need not forget that sexual minorities are also eligible voters as such any good political leader with good leadership qualities cannot promote discrimination by making preferences on the basis of tribe, sexual orientation, among others,” said Trapence.
On the contrary, Malawi Congress Party (MCP) secretary general Gustav Kaliwo, United Democratic Front (UDF) spokesperson Ken Ndanga and Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Nicholas Dausi said they have not faced such cases.
“The main focus of donors for us has been that of good governance and democracy and not issues to do with homosexuality,” said Ndanga.
But Phiri told The Nation that in addition to the peace pledge, PAC interacted with Chisi, Nyondo and Katsonga on the 19-point document titled Issues for Enhancing Transformative Leadership in Malawi which it discussed with other candidates last month.
PAC is meeting more candidates today and tomorrow on issues to do with peace pledge, according to Phiri.