The civil society organisations (CSOs) have accused President Peter Mutharika of inaction to their petition delivered after the September 21 anti-government demonstrations across the country’s four cities and have written the Head of State giving him 20 days ultimatum to respond.
In their petition delivered in Blantyre, Lilongwe, Mzuzu and Zomba cities, the petitioners, among other challenges, said the citizenry was awaiting government action in addressing the plunder of public resources, persistent power outages and rising unemployment.
The petition was a follow-up on an earlier 10-point demand presented on April 27 this year.
But Mutharika poked fun at CSOs over their September 21 demonstrations which he described as a flop.
The President said Malawians had rejected demonstrations as a solution to national issues as evidenced by what he called a low turnout of protesters.
However, chairperson of Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC) , Timothy Mtambo said it was unfortunate that Mutharika publicly ridiculed the petitioners.
“They countinue taking Malawians for granted and all they do is actually creating propaganda. They have been trying to paint the demonstrations as not important,” Mtambo said on Times Radio.
In the letter to Mutharika dated October 14 2018, the CSOs said: “Having noted that you have chosen to be sarcastic about Malawians who took to the streets, it is our considered opinion that your office has a condescending view of the issues outlined in the petition.
“It is is just a humble reminder tgat you are still accountable to Malawians, hence, the need for you to respond to the same.”
The CSOs said they interpret the President’s handling of the petition as “lack of political will to address the important issues affecting the country.”
The petitioners have given a fresh ultimumtum to President Mutharika to officially acknowledge receipt and outline a clear action plan within 30 days.
The CSOs have reminded Mutharika that the Constitution that he swore to defen and protect which he took part in its drafting explicitly provides for peaceful demonstrations.