What came as sweet news to Malawians about the agreements made by Civil Society Organizations and the Presidential Contact and Dialogue Group (PCDG) after about nine months of talks could become a vain effort as the two sides failed to set up an implementation plan, Malawi News can reveal.
According to sources close to the talks, the two sides agreed to set up a joint team that would ensure that the resolutions from the dialogue were being followed to the letter but the idea was torpedoed last minute when a disagreement about logistics of the CSO's team arose which led to the boycott of the crucial meeting on implementation, monitoring and evaluation.
Spokesperson for CSO negotiation team Voice Mhone confirmed with Malawi News.
"Technical teams from the two sides were supposed to meet before the press briefing which announced the resolutions in order to finalise an implementation plan but things didn't work out as UNDP which was taking care of logistics let our members down. It should be borne in mind that we were doing a national service but no accommodation was given to our members which led our members into boycotting the meeting," Mhone said.
"Imagine when we queried from UNDP about the problem we were told we should have given them a three-day notice while we were not given those days as notice to attend the meeting," he added.
Among other issues, the two sides resolved the scrapping off of the First Lady Callista Mutharika's contract as Safe Motherhood Ambassador, return of Vice President Joyce Banda's motorcade, reform of legal framework for assets declaration of senior public servants, parliamentarians, members of cabinet and the president.
But efforts to speak to mediator for the talks UNDP's Richard Dictus were unsuccessful as his phone went unanswered and so was the case with the organization's head of logistics.
But when asked for comment, head of PCDG Emeritus Archbishop Benard Malango while admitting the absence of the implementation plan said the matter will be taken care of shortly.
"Indeed there were some problems regarding to the issue of implementation but we thought we could first meet separately within our camps then come back together to look at the issue more closely," Malango said.
"As PCDG, we will be going to Blantyre next week to meet various stakeholders on the issues we have discussed including MBC and Escom but that will depend on the arrangements that we have to make with the institutions involved," he added.
But Malango disputed that the initial plan to commission a joint evaluation team before holding the press conference that announced the resolutions of the dialogue was changed last minute.
"The plan was not changed abruptly as such. The fact is that CSOs have their own ideas and we can go separate ways as of now but eventually we will sit down again and make a unified plan," he said.
The dialogue between representatives from the Civil Society and PCDG was based on 20 points that were in the petition presented to government during the July 20, 2011 nationwide demonstrations.