Divisions have emerged within the Civil Society Organisations (CSO) ranks and file over the Wednesday November 8, demonstrations.
The self-acclaimed civil and muman rights campaigner, Mayaya, on 3 November, 2017, served Lilongwe City Council with a five day notice of peaceful demonstration against the unrelenting ESCOM intermittent power cuts.
Mayaya in the notice of intention to carry out peaceful demonstrations, which has been made available to Nyasa Times says: “We write to notify you of our intention to hold peaceful demonstrations on the above mentioned theme. This is in line with our right to demonstrations as enshrined in the Malawi republican Constitution.”
But investigations carried out by this reporter indicate that Mayaya has been meeting ESCOM and EGENCO officials where he has been assuring them that demonstrations cannot take place as far as he is amongst the delegation of the CS0s to be taken around and paid handsomely.
The investigations reveals that Mayaya has been giving ESCOM false hopes to extent that on October 12, 2017, he drove to Blantyre where he was taken for a familiarisation tour alongside other CSO leaders, starting from Mapanga , where EGENCO is planting gen-sets.
It is further revealed that from there, Mayaya was taken to Lilongwe Water levels controlling unit before travelling to Chingeni, Tedzani and Nkula power generation stations.
Other civil society activists and human rights defenders are not happy with Mayaya condemning him to be just a fortune seeker and a self-servicing covetous individual masquerading as an activist.
Forum for National Development (FND) director Fyson Chodzi however described Mayaya as “a hypocrite” who only wants to serve his own interests and not the general public.
But as representative of CSO leaders who visited Tedzani, Nkula and Kamuzu Barrage in Liwonde, Chodzi said he was concerned with the conditions which EGENCO and ESCOM were operating in, noting that water levels in Shire were indeed contributing to the country’s current and ongoing power situation.
Said Chodzi: “We were planning to hold peaceful demonstrations in protest to the frequent blackouts but on account of what we have seen, it is only appropriate to create room to those concerned to work at addressing the problems through installation of diesel generators, for instance. We risk not being taken serious by the public. We engaged both ESCOM and EGENCO as a process of understanding the issues. The people who are proposing the demonstrations were also part of the engagement.”
“We were told that the issue of power would be addressed by January 2018. The consultations are still on going and this situation is a betrayal of trust that the two institutions had on the CSOs,” added Chodzi.
Chodzi further queried: “Doesn’t it seem that we are only bent to achieve political mileage rather than finding solutions to the whole problem. Collectively, we have been engaging the two institutions and explanations has been provided, so why is Mayaya acting as a lone wolf in a manner that only him understands? Does he really think by holding a demonstration with a handful [people] will change anything?”
Nyasa Times understand that within the CSOs, there is a lift and divisions, with the other group remain steadfast on dialogue and willing that the two institutions will do the right thing by engaging with the CSOs in all regions of the country and that they will stick to January deadline as agreed.
“It will be difficult in January to hold these two institutions accountable as this demonstration is premature when we had initially agreed that January is the deadline. However we wish those people propagating for the demonstrations now good luck and hoping they would get a different answer which we doubt. Some of us are convinced that the answers provided are enough for time being and would wait until January 2018 as it is just less than 60 days,” said Chodzi.
The FND boss explained that the decision to hold the demonstrations now seems to be based on emotions rather than public interest saying that it will it will be difficult not to separate political influence on the matter. As CSOs we should have stated the course and ensure to hold the two companies more accountable on their own proposal.
In the presentation, during the tour, which as highlighted, Mayaya was in attendance, EGENCO Director of Finance, Shadreck Namalomba disclosed that Malawi will be free from blackouts in January 2018 after completion of installation of standby diesel generators.
Namalomba said the continuous reduction of water levels in Lake Malawi has affected the flow of Shire River where almost all the hydro generation plants are located.
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