Local rights campaigners are strongly calling upon Malawi President Peter Mutharika to “wake up from his slumber and resolve the crisis facing the country once and for all lest he loses “the legitimacy to govern”.
In a strongly-worded press statement Centre for Human Rights and Rehabilitation (CHRR) and Centre for Development of People (Cedep) say observed with alarm a series of developments that may potentially thwart the progress of the country’s democracy as well as enjoyment of human rights by Malawian citizens.
The two organizations say the current situation is as if Malawi has no President.
“CHRR and Cedep are depressed at the rising number of industrial strikes in the country. Right now, ACB (Anti Corruption Bureau), Parliament, Malawi College of Medicine, Chancellor College, Mzuzu University among others have closed shop pending improved conditions from government. The recent sealing of ACB offices by APM’s regime is another disaster –the worst expected of his administration,” reads the statement in part.
The rights groups say the sealing of the Anti-Corruption Bureau also confirms the executive’s continued interference into the independence of the ACB a scenario that does not give any hope in as far as the national crusade to curb corruption is concerned.
“This is regrettable. Already there are fears that this ‘sealing exercise’, as APM’s sole tactic to resolving the strikes, shall be extended to the judiciary and any potential grouping who may resolve to strikes as a way of bringing their grievances to the attention of the regime.
“You don’t just cripple constitutional bodies like that and claim that your government is committed to fighting graft, corruption and also ensure that there is access to justice for all. This is pure hypocrisy, and in fact ‘hypocrisy of the highest order’, that is, if we were to borrow Timothy Mtambo’s branding of Mutharika four weeks ago [in an interview with Nyasa Times].”
The statement says what is even more saddening is that the President Mutharika is yet to step up to address the aggrieved parties on the feud.
“By failing to rise above the challenge and bring the striking staff to an understandable compromise, the President is painting a picture that he is failing to be a father-figure in the whole saga. This may also signal a ‘constructive admission’ by the President that he has failed to ‘governor rule’ in the midst of the crisis a scenario that does not speak well about his leadership style” says the statement.
The organizations have called upon the President to prioritize ending the strikes as a matter of urgency saying the real victims of these strikes are the innocent citizens whose rights are being violated.
The two organizations are also reminding Malawian that the 13th January 2015 national demonstrations will also include all other current challenges both on the political, economic, governance and human rights including government’s continued failure to resolve strike concerns.
“These peaceful demonstrations will be staged in all the regions: Northern Region, Central Region, Eastern Region and Southern Region. We therefore call upon all the citizens to patronize these demonstrations as one of the ways in demanding concrete action and solutions on the prevailing concerns from the government,” reads the statement.