A 2020 Mo Ibrahim Index of African Governance (IIAG) report has placed Malawi among 13 countries on the continent that are in the red zone, having scored poorly on corruption, human rights and inclusion and equality, among others.
The 2019 assessment titled Agendas 2063 and 2030: Is Africa on Track? shows a number of deterioration trends for Malawi in the implementation of the African Union’s Agenda 2063 and the United Nation’s Agenda 2030.
The report, where Malawi ranks an overall position 23, down from 19 in 2018, indicates that the country has, between 2010 and 2019, registered a deteriorating trend in governance of -1.3 points, scoring 51.5 percent from 55.8 percent in 2018.
Governance and political civil rights experts have since said the ranking and scores reflect the volatile political situation that the country has experienced in the past two years.
On gender inclusion and equality, the report shows negative trends on political power and representation of women (-12.4 points); equal civil liberties for women (-6.0 points) and violence against women.
There are also concerns on corruption, where Malawi has scored 34.3 percent, deteriorating by -6.5 points, owing to lack of serious anti-corruption mechanisms, graft in State, public and private sector institutions.
Reads the report in part: “Procurement procedures have become less competitive and sanctioning of companies that have violated the law is less rigorous than 10 years ago.”
On participation, rights and inclusion, Malawi has scored an average of 47.5 percent, with a deteriorating rate of -7.1 points. Participation encompasses freedom of association and assembly, civil society space as well as democratic elections.
However, it is not all gloom as the country has made some positive strides in the area of foundations for economic opportunity by scoring 46.3 percent with a positive trend of +0.7 points.
The country has also registered an improvement on human development, which measures health, education, social protection and sustainable environment, scoring 53.6 percent, ranking 24 and improving by +2.7 points.
It observes: “In the rest of the upper half of the ranking table, between 11th ranked Gabon and 27th ranked Gambia, only three countries, São Tomé and Príncipe, Benin and Malawi, have followed a path of increasing improvement.”
In an interview yesterday, governance expert Henry Chingaipe said the overall ranking is worrisome, observing that the governance side retrogression is not surprising.
He said: “If you look at those two years in terms of governance ranking, those results are not surprising. Even the next two years is going to be a mixed bag because in much of 2020, we have a lot of revelations of public misprocurement and mismanagement of finances.
“During that period, the former regime was at the height of impunity and there was too much violence against civilians. So, you have all of those things informing the rankings. We were not doing well.”
For the current regime, Chingaipe said they need to start listening to advice and taking action.
On his part, Chancellor College-based political scientist Ernest Thindwa said events that have unfolded after the change of government in June this year confirm the extent of corruption by the previous regime; hence, the need for more action.
He said: “CSOs were being barred from holding protests, people like Issa Njauju were brutally killed, and nothing happened. Various government departments were associated with corruption. This has to change.
“The gender issue needs to be looked into seriously. The new government has to investigate human rights-based cases and so too, cases of defilement that are rampant now.”
Rights activist Charles Kajoloweka stressed the need for government to work with the civil society in ensuring that the civic space is not stiffled.
Minister of Information Gospel Kazako, who is also government spokesperson, did not pick calls yesterday.
Minister of Justice Titus Mvalo is also on record as having said government has increased funding to the Anti-Corruption Bureau to help it effectively fight corruption.