Civil society organisations (CSOs) planning the September 7 2018 nationwide demonstrations have faulted foul-mouthed governing Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) regional governor for the South, Charles Mchacha for using intimidation tactics on the scheduled anti-government protests.
The CSOs have organised the protests were among the issues to be raised is government’s failure to address worsening corruption in the country.
Bangwe Township in Blantyre on Sunday televised on privately owned Times television for the first time, Mchacha challenged the CSOs that the demonstrations will not take place.
Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC) chairperson Timothy Mtambo and his deputy Gift Trapence said no amount of threats or intimidation will weaken or stop them from exercising their rights.
“He [Mchacha] doesn’t own Malawi. This is a constitutional right for Malawians and no one can deny Malawians a to exercise that right,” said Trapence
He added: “Malawians have the right to demonstrate anywhere in Malawi.”
Also adding his voice, the governance expert and human right activist Makhumbo Munthali told Nyasa Times that the DPP regional governor went overboard in his anti-democracy remarks.
“While it is a fact that the DPP may not agree with all the issues necessitating the demos, it is imperative for the DPP regional governor to be aware that right to peaceful demonstrations and freedom of Assembly are guaranteed by the Constitution, and that such rights can be exercised by the citizens freely even if the government of the day is not in agreement with the reasons behind such demos
“It would therefore be unconstitutional for the DPP regional governor to block such demos,” said Munthali.
Munthali said the failure of the DPP top leadership to discipline Mchacha despite his previous abusive outbursts against legislator Patricia Kaliati as well as his mobilisation of DPP cadets on the eve of 27 April demos in Blantyre to threaten citizens not to attend CSOs demos the following day, are clear reasons why the DPP regional governor has been behaving as someone above the Law.
Likewise, the Police had been an accomplice in all this by being quiet, he pointed out,
“Consequently, Mchacha has been the epitome of DPP impunity in recent past. It’s high time the government and Malawi Police strongly condemned Mchacha’s threats as they have the potential to incite violence especially as we approach the elections in 2019,” said Munthali.
The quasi-religious group Public Affairs Committee (PAC) and main opposition Malawi Congress Party (MCP) have endorsed anti-government protests set for September 7 2018.
In a communiqué signed by the body’ chairperson and spokesman Reverend Felix Chingota and Fr Peter Mulomole, PAC it supports the view to hold “peaceful demonstrations” when all local remedies to influence change have been exhausted.
The governance watchdog said should the nationwide demonstrations proceed as planned, Malawians should “exercise their rights [to demonstrate] peacefully.”
On their part, MCP has said it is encouraging its supporters to take back in the anti-government protests.
MCP secretary general Elsenhower Mkaka said the CSOs issues are “genuine”.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :