Muslim professionals in Malawi say it is time for the transparency to prevail in Islamic organizations especially those that deal with the scholarship programmes.
The call was made during the ongoing planning workshop for the Islamic work in Malawi which is held at Sun Village Hotel in Liwonde under the theme “Where did we go wrong?”
The request came after the facilitator Dr Ronald Mangani asked the members to list some of the programmes that have not been implemented, why and rate them if they are important or not.
This was being done through group discussions.
However, one group surprised other members after it listed that some of the programmes are difficult to implement due to the lack of transparency in the organizations facilitating them.
The group said mostly students from well to do families are the ones benefiting from the scholarship programme.
Members said it is sad to note that there are a lot of people who deserve it but they do not get the sponsorship.
“There is need for transparency in the organisations that facilitate scholarship programmes if it is to continue benefiting the Muslims. Those involved should be able to communicate to the masses on how the selection is done and who does it. We are saying this because we sometimes just hear that somebody’s son has left the country to study abroad without knowing how he or she was selected – leaving people speculating a lot of things. That is why we are saying this is an important aspect we should look into as we are making our plans,” said the grouping.
The matter now turned into the hot issue forcing Al Barakah Charity Trust Director Ibrahim Milanzie to intervene to ask the members of the group to explain what they meant when they said there is no transparency in organizations running scholarship programmes. He said it is not his first time to hear that from the public.
“I may wish if the group could come out of the cocoon and tell us what it really mean because if I can give an example of the Islamic Zakat Fund (IZF), the selection is done by a non-Malawian who even doen’t know where the students come from – reducing the chance of doubts that he may choose whom he wishes. He does it on merit. On Muslim Association’s IDB program is the same. Interviews are conducted and those that have passed are selected. So, I always surprised when people talk about this transparency thing,” he said.
Ironically, Milanzie’s response could not convince some members who continued arguing that “the fact that we do not know that it is him who does the selection, it is the sign of the lack of transparency. He may do well of course but some of us didn’t know that. We are just hearing it from here,” said one brother from the grouping which named itself Masugulu.
To add more salt to the wound, one brother who works in one of the commercial banks in Malawi gave his testimony that there are indeed some people who are sent outside though they do not deserve it.
“I have one friend who don’t have English on his JCE but he was selected though the requirement by that time was that the students should have a credit in English. He was selected to Zanzibar University and now he is a degree holder, sparking many questions as to how come did he graduate,” he said.
Among other things, all members proposed to have more programmes such as print press, Islamic university, human rights and governance, environment, zakaat, dawah, etc.
They said that by not implementing these these type of programmes adequately, it is a big loss to the Muslim community.
The workshop continues and it is expected to end on Sunday.
Reporting by Marshall Dyton in Liwonde