Civil society organisations (CSOs) have said they will go ahead with their plans to hold nationwide protests on September 21 despite the governing Democratic Progressive Party (DPP)’s postponement of their ‘Blue Day’ on Friday in Blantyre and also rescheduled around September 20 or 21.
Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC) chairperson Timothy Mtambo, one of the organisers of the anti-government protests, said they will proceed to hold demonstration on September 21 because they had already called off their demonstrations initially scheduled on September 7 to pave the way for the Blue Day.
Mtambo said time to worship impunity is over and it is high time Malawian reclaimed their destiny.
The fearest human rights activist said them CSOs are not giving dialogue a chance, saying the the nature of the DPP administration is that it is manipulative.
“Dialogue works where it is due, it must be genuine and must be founded on principles of mutual respect and trust. The problem with DPP administration is that they believe in manipulative dialogue. When you engage them, it is either they want to silence you or they want to pretend doing something with an objective of making the issue die a natural death,” explained Mtambo.
He said the CSOs have tried many times to dialogue the the government but failed.
“For example, after 2011 demos there was dialogue that was constituted to engage Government but it yielded nothing. The leadership of the Public Affairs Committee (PAC) has tried to dialogue with the DPP-led government but nothing has been achieved so far. We tried to dialogue on NACgate nothing happened. We tried on the blue Nightgate and on the K4 billion. How can you dialogue with a leadership which majors in propaganda? It is so unfair to imply that CSOs do not want to engage in dialogue,” he said.
Mtambo stressed that DPP administration is beyond dialogue engagements.
“ It is also important to mention that dialogue has to be in keeping with the nature of issues and concerns at hand. For instance, how can you dialogue on the issue of bringing to book the murderers of Issa Njauju, Robert Chasowa, killings of people with albinism on electricity black outs, corruption? That said we should not demonise demonstrations. These are constitutionally backed up means of engagement. When we demonstrate we are giving citizens a platform to engage and dialogue with their government,” he said.
On critics argument that CSOs risk losing credibility over just holding demos anyhow. Mtambo said those assertions are “baseless” and are not said in good faith.
“How can CSOs risk losing credibility over holding demonstrations on genuine issues? What credibility are they talking about? Such political analysts have lost touch with the reality on the ground. We are practitioners and we understand the dynamics on the ground. We are not dealing with theory here.
“We are very concerned with some comments from some political analysts. Some have even gone ahead suggesting that we should suspend accountability measures pending general elections. Really? Should we keep quiet and continue watching people stealing our resources because elections are imminent? Even if it is a day to elections, we need to stand by our constitutional values.
“Our credibility still stands intact considering the fact that we go to the streets with genuine and real issues affecting Malawians and not our personal interests. Malawians are better judges. The danger of such comments from such analysts is that they are encouraging the oppressors rather than standing with the oppressed,” said Mtambo.
He said the CSOs major reason for demonstration dates back to the April 27 10-points petition which has been “arrogantly ignored” by the DPP administration.
“The petition was clear that after 90 days we shall make an assessment to evaluate government’s implementation of the citizens’ petition and that if we are not satisfied, we shall come back to the streets and demand accountability.
“As CSOs, we did the assessment and from the assessment it is clear that government has not just ignored the April 27 citizens’ petition but it has also engaged a bigger gear on accelerating impunity in this country,” said Mtambo.
HRDC vice-chairperson Gift Trapence said among the issues to be raised in the upcoming demonstration is government’s failure to address worsening corruption in the country.
Other issues include theft of fuel K1.9 billion at Electricity Supply Corporation of Malawi (Escom), calls for the resignation of Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) director general Reyneck Matemba, immediate suspension of the contract for the supply of gensets and an immediate stop of nepotism in government appointments.
He said through the demonstrations, CSOs and participants seek to peacefully express their dissatisfaction and denounce violation of human rights that are enriched in the bill of rights.
But DPP regional governor for the South Charles Mchacha has vowed that he would not allow CSOs to hold demonstrations in the South.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :