Malawian civil-society groups plan to hold anti-government protests on January 13 against “bad leadership”, saying they will be “peaceful” and well-coordinated.
Spokesman of the street protests, Timothy Mtambo, who is also executive director of Centre for Human Rights Rehabilitation (CHRR), said being the rights campaigners will lead from the frontline.
Mtambo said modalities for the protests would be worked out and announced soon.
“It is definite, we are going to protest peacefully and it will be meaningful,” said Mtambo.
He said the of the peaceful protests will be to force government into positive action over the prevailing political, economic, administrative and governance stalemate currently facing the country.
Mtambo said the protests are also aimed at providing the citizens the platform to air out their grievances.
One of the issues the CSOs are calling for protests is the issue of the National Aids Commission’s (NAC) financial grant to Beatify Malawi Trust (BEAM) and Mulhakho wa Alhomwe (MWA).
NAC is said to have given BEAM and MWA K5 million and K9.4 million, but this did not go down well with some CSOs under the Grand Coalition, arguing that the two institutions do not have HIV/AIDS intervention programmes to warrant such financial support.
It is against this background that the groups have organized the demonstrations as a way of forcing BEAM, MWA to return the money they received from the Commission.
However, organisers have accused government of fermenting “propaganda” against the protests and promoting a culture of intimidation and direct attacks at civil society.
Clashes with police during protests in July 2011 led to the deaths of 19 people.
The business community in Malawi’s cities who lost a lot property in the July 20, 2011 vigils have expressed fears of the repeat of the same this time around.
But the CSO’s insisted the protests will be “peaceful”, saying government was in a campaign of scare-mongering to discourage people to carry placards and demonstrate.
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