Construction of tombstones for July 20 victims delayed

Construction works of tombstones for innocent Malawians who lost their lives during last year’s July 20-21 nationwide demonstrations will start in April this year, organisers have said.

Originally the work was supposed to start off in January 2012, but the work has been delayed due to the rains, according to Moses Mkandawire, who is the lead person for the project.

“We wanted to start the construction works in January this year but because of the rains we have shifted it to April and we are expecting to finish the whole work by August 2012,” said Mkandawire who is also director for the Church and Society for the CCAP Church of Livingstonia Synod.

Rest we forget: One of the July 20 protests victims

The Church and Society Program of Livingstonia Synod and Youth Watch Malawi are managing the project which is being funded by well wishers and individuals.

In early August 2011, just about two weeks after 19 Malawians died in the protests, civil society organisations in the country opened a special account for well wishers to deposit money for the victims’ support.

Mkandawire said the account, number 0109476410116, was opened at Mzuzu Indebank Branch in the name of July 20 Victims Support Fund.

“Well wishers have been contributing to the Fund but we would have loved for more contributions,” he said.

He said the Fund will respectably take care of all the victims’ tombstones regardless of where they were buried.

“Construction of these tombstones is one way of respecting and preserving the history for all those who died during the demonstrations while defending their democratic rights,” said the outspoken Mzuzu-based human rights activist.

Part of the funds were used to help some protestors who survived the brutal police killings with injuries and some families of those who died.

Apart from the 19 who lost their dear lives, scores others were seriously injured because of police beatings while hundreds more spent days in prison cells for exercising their democratic right to take part in the national demos.

During the protests, police fired live bullets at people to break up demonstrations which were organised by the civil society organisations against government oppressive policies and shortage of fuel and forex.

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