Last week, on Monday 15 June, the Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace (CCJP) organised a national public debate around the following question “Is the current Mines and Minerals Draft Bill responding to the burning issues that Malawians in CSOs, FBOs, and local communities have been raising?”
The draft bill was submitted in January 2015 by consultant James Otto to the Ministry of Natural Resources, Energy and Mining following wide consultations last year. The bill was expected to be tabled in Parliament during the current sitting, but this has been delayed due to further consultations held in April to review the draft. These activities are being supported through the World Bank financed Mining Governance and Growth Support Project.
Rafiq Hajat, renowned human rights activist, Grain Malunga, seasoned expert in mining, currently consulting with Paladin Africa Ltd. and reestablishing the Chamber of Mines, and Charles Kaphwiyo, Commissioner of Mines, Ministry of Natural Resources, Energy and Mining, sat on the panel to discuss the draft bill. Unfortunately, Hon. Welani Chilenga MP, Chairperson for Parliamentary Committee on Natural Resources and Climate Change, did not make the debate although he was listed among the panellists prior to the event.
About 50 people attended the debate at Crossroads Hotel in Lilongwe, while many more tuned in to Zodiak Broadcasting Station (ZBS) and sent in their questions and comments via SMS. The Acting Director of Mines, Peter Chilumanga, and the Principal Secretary, Ben Botolo, were in the audience. ZBS’s Joab Chakhaza moderated the debate.
You can listen online to the debate that was aired live on ZBS Radio
With support from Tilitonse Fund, CCJP in partnership with Church and Society Programme (C&SP) of the Livingstonia Synod, Quadria Muslim Association of Malawi and Evangelical Association of Malawi, is implementing a mining governance projects whose goal is to contribute towards having a transparent, inclusive and responsive mining sector in Malawi. The debate was held as part of their national advocacy activities.