The concept of "governance" means that processes of decision-making and the process by which decisions are implemented by those in authority can be questioned. CFJ’s context of governance in Malawi is that it’s participatory, consensus oriented, accountable, transparent, responsive, effective and efficient, equitable and inclusive and follows the rule of law. It assures that corruption is minimized, the views of minorities are taken into account and that the voices of the most vulnerable in Malawi are heard in decision-making. Our thinking is that the “governors” have to renew the social contract with the “governed”.
Rule of law implies that every citizen is subject to the law. It stands in contrast to the idea that those in power are above the law and can abuse their power anyhow.
The separation of powers between the executive branch and the legislative branch is constitutionally in place; however, the executive branch is far more powerful, and parliament can only meet with the consent of the president.
The judiciary operates relatively independently, and makes rulings that sometimes do not concur with the interests of the government. Its meager resources are overstretched by a heavy workload. The government occasionally ignores rulings (such as the implementation of Section 65, which prohibits MPs from switching parties), and courts are under constant pressure from legislators and the executive.
Malawi emerged from dictatorial rule lasting about two and half decades in 1994. During that time Malawians did not enjoy civil and political rights, let alone economic, social and cultural rights (ESC rights), even though Malawi is a State party to a number of UN human rights treaties.
Malawi like most African countries is not immune from corruption which has been institutionalized. It impacts heavily on service delivery in most public sectors and the most vulnerable in society loses out the most.
At the core of CFJ’s interventions on governance is the role of influencing pro-poor policy outcomes and it will lobby for Law reform in the areas which are astute to our objectives.