The Centre for Democracy and Economic Development Initiatives (Cdedi) and the Blantyre Small Scale Business Operators led a peaceful demonstration against the Tonse Alliance government in Blantyre on Tuesday with dozens of protestors giving the leadership a demand for an immediate reduction on fuel prices in light of Covid-19 lockdown measures and governance queries.
Cdedi and the business operators had initially planned to hold the protests on January 8 2021 but Blantyre City Council (BCC) withheld its permission.
This prompted the organizers of the mass protests to file a fresh application for permission to BCC to hold peaceful demonstration on January 13 2021.
However, this was cancelled after President Lazarus Chakwera declared three days of mourning following the sudden death of the Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, Lingson Belekanyama, and his Transport and Public Works counterpart, Sidik Mia.
Mia was also Vice President of the lead partner in the Tonse Alliance government, the Malawi Congress Party (MCP).
But after a long wait, Cdedi and the business operators on Tuesday held their demonstration.
Among others, the protesters demanded an immediate reduction on fuel prices and that
the Tonse Alliance government to stop an alleged selective application of justice, provide one million jobs to the loafing youths as promised during the campaign ahead of the Fresh Presidential Election on June 23, 2020.
They further demanded that the Chakwera administration should produce a report on how it expended the resources earmarked for the aborted July 6, 2020, independence celebrations.
Cdedi executive director Sylvester Namiwa said he was satisfied with the turnout of the people who came out to exercise their constitutional right to peaceful demonstrations.
“As Cdedi, we are very happy we have finally presented our grievances to the authorities. Now, everything rests with the Tonse Alliance government to demonstrate that it is indeed inclusive by addressing our concerns as a matter of urgency,” Namiwa told Nyasa Times.
One of the protesters, Jacob Mailosi, said he was happy to have participated in the peaceful march.
Mailosi said it is sad that successive governments have failed to address land issues in Thyolo, Mulanje and Phalombe.
“It’s also very sad that these successive governments have failed to remove illegal immigrants from our markets. We want this Tonse Alliance government to address these issues now,” he said.
Cdedi recently also held similar protests in the capital and presented a petition to the President through the Lilongwe City Council which promised to pass it on to Chakwera and his government.
Namiwa stated that if the government will not respond to the queries, other protests will be held in Mzuzu before nationwide demonstrations ensue.
The protesters marched peacefully unlike in the past when demonstrators led by Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC) under the leadership of Timothy Mtambo would damage property.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :