Malawi’s finance ministry says political parties will not receive regular funding from the government until they give descriptions on how previous funds were spent. In Malawi, political parties with more than 10 percent of members of parliament are entitled to government funding.
Goodall Gondwe is Malawi’s finance minister. He spoke with Voice of America English to Africa reporter James Butty about the government’s decision to suspend funding to political parties.
“We have not suspended funding. What we are saying is that political parties as is required by the constitution, should send us audited accounts of the money that we gave them before.”
Gondwe says the government is not necessarily concerned about how political parties are using the money. However, he says without the audit, the government may never know whether a treasurer of a certain political party is misusing the funds for his or her personal gain.
In Malawi, political parties with more than 10 percent of members of parliament are entitled to government funding. Gondwe says the government spends about 300 thousand dollars per quarter or about a million dollars per year to fund those parties, including the ruling party. “For us that’s a lot of money. One has got to account for it.”
Gondwe says the finance minister is willing to give the parties a reprieve. “In the end probably we will just have to give some notice. Maybe fund them now, and then ask them to provide the audited accounts starting six months from now.” Gondwe says the demand for accountability does not stifle democracy. Instead, he says, he is under obligation to implement the constitution.
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