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Malawi Economic Justice Network - Position Paper on the status of PRSP and Civil Society involvement in Malawi

4. Problems with the implementation of the idea
 
In order to complement the work that has already been started by the working groups, members decided to use the current working drafts as base for their discussions. This, it was felt, would allow consensus in the final product. The aim is not to set up parallel process, as this would frustrate the much-needed consensus for the official process.
 
However, these efforts are said not to have the blessing of the technical committee. The TC is saying that these Civil Society meetings must be cancelled. Some of the arguments being advanced are as follows:
 
  1. Civil society has already been involved in the group discussions. Why should they look at the papers again?
MEJN views:
  • In the thematic working group drafting team, none of the Civil Society is involved.
  • The CS in question does not have the latest drafts themselves.
  • CS in the groups have got constituencies too that they must share the discussions with.
 
  1. CS separate discussion on the PRSP would bring in a parallel process as is the case in Zambia.
MEJN views:
  • Our plan is to avoid the same. That is why we want to use the already existing papers.
  • The opposite is true. Denying us access to the drafts means Civil Society must start their own discussions - leading to the feared parallel process.
 
  1. They can "allow" us to meet on condition that members of the TC are present and facilitate MEJN views:
 
  • What are they afraid of, if the drafts contain what the members had agreed on?
  • We want to comment as Civil Society, why must they be present?
  • They just want us to play a submissive role when we are supposedly partners in the process.
 
  1. Civil society should wait untill the Technical Commitee finalises drafting the PRSP document. The document will then will be given to Civil Society for some days for comment, not with these drafts. MEJN views:
 
  • We believe it is constructive if people discuss the draft, not the final paper.
  • The current drafting team of the PRSP is comprising the technical committee only, none from the Civil Society.
  • The final paper will not be as sectoral in focus as in the drafts, yet our planned meetings want to benefit the members in specific sectors.
 
  1. The original drafts were withdrawn by the chairs of the working groups for revision i.e prioritising and costing. The TC does not have any of them. MEJN views:
 
  • Our meetings will not concentrate on the technical priorities nor costing but on the issues therein.
  • The papers withdrawn were copies of the drafts. There is no way all the drafts can be withdrawn without leaving copies with the committee.
 
It has been made clear that the Technical committee is not going to release the drafts and allow Civil Society to go ahead with the discussions. We are calling on all stakeholders to lobby the technical committee to make these drafts available.

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